Spain’s Civil Guard announced Sunday that it was investigating a businessman from the eastern Valencia region who had a private taxidermy collection that included more than 1,000 stuffed animals.
According to a Civil Guard statement the collection would be worth 29 million euros (USD31.5 Million) on black market. Its owner could also face charges for trafficking and other crimes against nature.
It claimed that the discovery was the largest of the protected stuffed specimens in Spain.
Agents investigating the case found the stuffed animals in two warehouses measuring over 50,000 sq. metres at the outskirts Btera, a small village north of Valencia’s eastern coast.
405 of the 1,090 stuffed animal specimens found belonged to CITES wildlife protection specimens.
These included the scimitar, also known as the Sahara Oryx, which the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared extinct in the wild. At least two other species were close to extinction: the addax or white antelope, originally from the Sahara desert, and the Bengal Tiger.
Agents also collected stuffed specimens of the cheetah and leopard, lions, lynxes, snow panther, white rhinoceros, and 198 ivory tusks taken from elephants.
The Civil Guard stated it would investigate whether any documents are available to justify the collection’s ownership.