A total of 1,090 stuffed animals have been seized in Bétera (Valencia), the largest collection ever found in Spain and one of the largest in the world. The approximate value of the collection amounts to more than 29 million euros, although the amount “could increase”.
Last Wednesday, April 6, the Nature Protection Team of the Valencia Civil Guard Command seized the largest collection of stuffed animals in a private collection of specimens in a warehouse in Bétera.
The haul included more than 400 protected species, including some that have been extinct in the wild, such as the scimitar oryx, or severely threatened, such as the Bengal tiger. Others included lions, leopards, cheetahs and lynx. However, more than 600 pieces have yet to be examined, which “could increase this amount,” a spokesman pointed out.
Of the pieces found, 198 were large ivory tusks from elephants. The warehouse owner was under investigation for smuggling and crimes against flora and fauna, police said, although he has not been arrested. The proceedings have been notified to the Court of First Instance and Instruction Number 2 in Llíria.
SEPRONA said that the farm where the stuffed animals were found has a 600-square-meter warehouse with a number of connected rooms, as well as a second warehouse of 150 m2, and a three-storey house, where the owner currently lives.
“Currently, we are not aware that he has the documentation of any for the animals found and we are waiting for him to provide it to us”.
The discovery is the culmination of an investigation by Valencia police’s Seprona team that began last November.
Images courtesy Guardia Civil