Illegal big game safari trade growing in Spain

13th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 April 2006, NEW YORK — The lucrative illegal safari business is flourishing in Spain, it is reported.

13 April 2006

NEW YORK — The lucrative illegal safari business is flourishing in Spain, it is reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported this illegal trade in hunting protected animals is growing thanks to rich tourists from Spain, the US and Europe.

The paper claims they are willing to pay tens of thousands of euros to simulate big-game hunting.

The New York-based newspaper, citing sources from the Spanish Civil Guard's Nature Protection Service, or Seprona, said 678 live, illegally imported animals were confiscated in Spain in 2005.

According to the daily, most of these animals - including 44 mammals - had been taken from Africa and Latin America.

The Wall Street Journal said the biggest prices are charged for pursuing "big game" like elephants, buffalo, rhinoceroses, lions and leopards.

The Bengal tiger is the most prized catch as customers are asked to pay up to EUR 24,764 a day to hunt this rare species.

"Artificial safaris aren't new. Ranches in Texas have for years legally raised their own herds of African wildlife for hunting, including large antelopes called oryx," says the paper.

"But Spanish safaris are of a different sort. The animals aren't raised on the huge ranches where they are hunted. Rather, they are smuggled into the country or are acquired illegally, sometimes from zoos and circuses, law-enforcement officials say.

It added: "Spain's illegal safaris include big game such as lions and tigers," the paper reported."

Last November, a farm near the town of Valverde del Fresno in western Spain, Seprona officers found dead tigers' remains and at least one live lion in a cage and made a dozen arrests.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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