Wildlife smuggling? Nile crocodiles, Burmese python among exotic animals seized in Spain

The Seprona division of the Guardia Civil recovered around 139 animals in 2022

Wildlife trade in spain Two Nile crocodiles seized by the Seprona division of the Guardia Civil | X

A pair of Nile crocodiles, an African spurred tortoise, and a 2-metre Burmese python were among the exotic list of endangered animals rescued by specialist wildlife police in eastern Spain over the last year. 

The Seprona division of the Guardia Civil in a statement said that its officers recovered "numerous examples" of species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 2023. 

“The two Nile crocodiles, which each measured approximately 2 metres, were collected by officers from a private estate in El Moralet in Alicante province last August,” the statement said. 

It also added that the owner did not have an import certificate or one for breeding in captivity. 

A 2-metre-long Burmese python was found in Alicante’s city centre, while the African spurred tortoise, which weighed around 25kg, had been abandoned in the Sierra de Oltá mountains in Calpe. 

Among the other animals Seprona seized were a burrowing parrot, which is native to Patagonia, and a Venezuelan blood-eared parakeet.

“The rescued animals were taken to different rehabilitation centres, lodges and parks where specialists were able to evaluate their condition and provide the required treatment,” the statement said. 

“These facilities also offer the food, space and care needed to ensure each of the species can enjoy an optimal quality of life," it added. 

The Guardia Civil has launched several investigations to find the owners and determine whether they had the necessary paperwork for the animals.

“If the owners cannot provide legitimate provenance or certificates permitting them to breed animals in captivity, they will face fines of up to €6,000 [£5,130] and could face charges relating to the protection of wild flora and fauna,” the statement said.

In 2022, two caimans, three pythons, eight iguanas and 46 giant African snails were among the exotic animals recovered by the Seprona officers from a private zoo on the Canary island of Gran Canaria. Around 139 animals were found at the property.


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