AS part of an action coordinated across 42 countries by Interpol, officers of the Guardia Civil and Seprona arrested or investigated 59 people who they believed were involved in smuggling or selling protected species of flora and fauna with nearly 6,000 inspections taking place.
Amazingly, the haul of living animals and birds discovered included 35 primates, 48 birds of prey, more than 200 exotic birds, reptiles, marine species and some wild felines.
Amongst the items made from parts of dead animals there were 421 ivory carvings, a whole stuffed lion and two crocodiles, more than two kilograms of sturgeon caviar, jaws and teeth of sharks, 71 corals, two pangolins and furniture and musical instruments made from ebony and Brazilian rosewood.
According to Interpol, crime against the environment is one of the fastest growing problems on the international scene, attracting criminal networks and due to the proximity of Spain to Africa it is a potential smugglers transit destination.
In addition to smuggled species moving through Spain, a number of species are themselves targets, ranging from birds of prey and their eggs to turtles, other reptiles, sea horses, sea cucumbers and elvers, many of which are then sent to China or the Chinese community in Europe.