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Spanish police find warehouse of stuffed animals

April 11, 2022

Spain's Civil Guard has discovered one of the largest hauls of taxidermy animals at a warehouse in Valencia. The collection includes over 400 protected species.

Police inspect some of the stuffed animals after they seized a warehouse in Valencia.
Police inspect some of the stuffed animals including rhinos, polar bears, elephants and other animals Image: Spanish Guardia Civil/Handout/picture alliance

In what is being called one of Europe's biggest taxidermy hauls, police in Spain have discovered a private collection of over 1,000 stuffed animals — including rhinos, elephants and polar bears — at a giant warehouse.

Spain's Civil Guard said in a statement on Sunday that it discovered the specimens in a 50,000 square meter industrial warehouse in Betera, Valencia on Wednesday. 

Collection includes over 400 protected species

The haul of 1,090 stuffed animals has more than 400 protected species, including at least one specimen of the already extinct North African oryx.

The agents recorded at least two more species nearly extinct: the addax, or white antelope, originally from the Sahara desert and the Bengal tiger.

They also found stuffed specimens of cheetah, leopard, lion, lynx, polar bear, snow panther and white rhinoceros, and 198 large ivory tusks from elephants.

Civil Guards check stuffed animals in Betera, Spain.
The collection would fetch €29 million ($31.5 million) on the black market, the statement from the Civil Guard said.Image: Guardia Civil/AP Photo/picture alliance

The owner — a well-known Valencian business — is under investigation for smuggling and environmental crimes, police said.

The entrepreneur claims that he had inherited most of the animals from his father, newspaper Las Provincias reported.

He has not been arrested and a probe is underway to determine where the animals came from.

dvv/kb (AP, dpa, Reuters)