VALENCIA – Spanish police have seized a collection of 1,090 dissected animals. Furthermore, the collection concerns an enormous amount of wild and (virtually) extinct animals such as polar bears, tigers, and elephants. The owner is the son of a well-known businessman from Valencia.
Guardia Civil agents report that 405 of the found species belong to the CITES list, an agreement on international trade in endangered and wild animal and plant species.
Moreover, it concerns an enormous collection of wild and (almost) extinct animals, including;
- polar bears
- white rhinoceroses
- snow leopards
- Bengal tigers
198 large ivory elephant tusks were also found.
Largest find of protected animal species ever in Spain
The animals were destined for smuggling and were found in a large hall the size of about seven football fields in the Valencian municipality of Bétera. The animals represent a value of more than €29 million. The Spanish police report that this is the largest find of protected species in Spain and one of the largest at a European level.
Spanish police and Europol have been investigating for months
Operation “Valcites” by a Guardia Civil special unit began in November 2021 when officers received tips about a possible private collection of dissected animals in Bétera. Europol also cooperated in this investigation. In the following months, investigations led to a warehouse measuring more than 50,000 square metres where more than 1,000 animals were found. Furthermore, they were set up like in a museum.
Owner son of well-known businessman from Valencia
Following this find, one person has been investigated for alleged offenses related to smuggling and violations of laws related to the protection of flora and fauna. According to the news site Levante-emv.com, it is one of the sons of the now-deceased businessman Ros Casares from Valencia.
Consequently, the owner has now had to provide all documents that show how he got these animals. However, according to Spanish media, the owner would have inherited the collection from his father. All collected documents and investigation results have been handed over to the court of Llíria in Valencia.
Also read: Police find large collection of stuffed exotic animals in Madrid