More than 1,000 stuffed animals, some on verge of extinction, found in warehouse in Valencia
Spanish police on Sunday seized one of the largest private taxidermy collections ever discovered in Europe in a warehouse in Valencia.
Within the massive space, there were 1,090 stuffed animals, including 405 protected species like elephants, white rhinos, Bengal tigers, and polar bears.
The collection also included one animal that has already gone extinct in the wild – the scimitar oryx, as well as critically endangered animals like the addax antelope.
In the warehouse, the animals were placed in different sections that were decorated to reflect the animals’ natural environments.
Besides the taxidermied animals, there were 198 elephant tusks, which are widely trafficked in the illegal ivory trade, stools made of elephant feet, rare animal skins, crocodile skin chairs, and other decorative pieces.
Investigators estimate that the collection is worth around €29 million ($31.7 million).
Police said they first heard rumors of the taxidermy collection in November.
The investigation continues as police determine whether the owner of the collection has any documents to justify the possession of the animals.
The individual or people behind the collection could face several years behind bars for smuggling and crimes against animals.
According to Spanish daily El Pais, officials intend for the stuffed animals to end up in a natural science museum.
Source: Anadolu Agency