THE Guardia Civil’s nature protection arm SEPRONA has prevented the trade of 74 African elephant tusks, which were falsely declared to have been regularised via a Republic of Mozambique hunting permit issued in 1970.
Investigations began in March, after police received a request for assistance from the General Department of Inspection, Certification and Technical Assistance for Foreign Trade, which acts as the management authority for CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The appeal warned of a potential infringement in a claim for regularisation of a large amount of elephant ivory, which was said to have been received via an inheritance, according to the applicant.
SEPRONA contacted Mozambique authorities, and found that although a hunting licence had indeed been issued 46 years ago, it only permitted a single elephant to be killed, suggesting the documentation submitted in Spain to be counterfeit.
In mid-April, SEPRONA agents conducted an inspection at the applicant’s home, after which the contraband ivory, which had a market value of €200,000, was seized, and the suspect charged with smuggling and falsification of documents relating to the protection of flora and fauna.
The black market in animal parts is worth an estimated €8-20 billion annually, leading to a boom in illegal poaching and the very real possibility that future generations will only be able to see characteristic megafauna such as elephants, rhinos, lions and tigers in zoos.