Clam­p­down on il­le­gal an­i­mal trade

Long jour­neys sub­ject an­i­mals to great suf­fer­ing and death

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - [email protected]

By Dave Jones GUARDIA Civil in Ali­cante have seized 26 pro­tected an­i­mals – 19 tor­toises and seven grey par­rots – in an op­er­a­tion against the il­le­gal traf­fick­ing of wildlife over the in­ter­net.

A force spokesman ex­plained that nine peo­ple are be­ing ques­tioned in con­nec­tion with the racket.

He said the Guardia Civil en­vi­ron­men­tal branch SEPRONA started in­ves­ti­gat­ing at the be­gin­ning of the year.

All the an­i­mals have been handed over to res­cue cen­tres and ‘re­main at the dis­po­si­tion of the courts’.

The spokesman noted that the in­ter­net has al­lowed the il­le­gal traf­fick­ing of pro­tected species to flour­ish.

Of­fi­cers have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing a num­ber of web­sites in or­der to clamp down on the trade.

The spokesman ex­plained that an­i­mals sold via in­ter­net web pages are not cov­ered by any health checks from the au­thor­i­ties.

“Species which are il­le­gally traded have not been in­spected by vets and this can lead to the spread of se­ri­ous dis­eases and mis­treat­ment,” he said.

Also, the long jour­neys which the an­i­mals are sub­jected to ‘cause great suf­fer­ing’ and in some case lead to their deaths.

Through their in­ves­ti­ga­tions this year, of­fi­cers found that nine sus­pects were in­volved in ‘con­tin­ued traf­fick­ing of an­i­mals’.

Some of these were un­der the high­est level of pro­tec­tion, cov­ered by the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – an in­ter­na­tional agree­ment be­tween gov­ern­ments which aims to en­sure that in­ter­na­tional trade in spec­i­mens of wild an­i­mals and plants does not threaten their sur­vival.

Some of these an­i­mals would fetch be­tween €500 and €1,000 on the black mar­ket.

Of­fi­cers also seized a set of ele­phant tusks.

The spokesman noted that the sus­pects face be­tween six months and two years in prison. A Pol­ish man wanted for bur­gling 30 busi­nesses in his coun­try of ori­gin has been tracked down and ar­rested in Sax by the Na­tional Po­lice. The Pol­ish au­thor­i­ties is­sued three Eu­ro­pean Ar­rest War­rants for the 40year-old fugi­tive, who they al­lege made over €26,000 as part of a gang which robbed cafes, op­ti­cians, butch­ers, of­fices, me­chan­ics, hair­dressers and ice­cream par­lours. If con­victed for these of­fences, which took place be­tween 2015 and 2017, he faces up to 26 years in prison. He is also ac­cused of caus­ing dam­age to sev­eral other busi­nesses which the thieves were un­able to break into. The Na­tional Po­lice found out the sus­pect was liv­ing in Sax and try­ing to pass un­no­ticed amongst the res­i­dents. Once they had lo­cated him, he was ar­rested and passed to a court in Ali­cante, after which he was due to be sent to the High Court in Madrid to process his ex­tra­di­tion to his na­tive Poland.

Some of the tor­toises which were found by the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers

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