Clampdown on illegal animal trade
Long journeys subject animals to great suffering and death
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