Two hunters are accused of shooting 10 animals at a nature reserve in Spain’s Sevilla, beheading five of them to keep as ‘trophies.’
THE Environmental Prosecutor’s Office of Sevilla has reported the two suspects to the courts for crimes against fauna allegedly committed in the Castillo de las Guardas animal reserve.
The prosecution’s report claims they snuck into the reserve during the early hours of December 10, 2019 and shot the animals, including five oryx dammah, a species of antelope that only lives in captive populations; four fallow deer and a cuvier gazelle.
The accused, both from Aznalcóllar in Sevilla, allegedly decapitated the four fallow deer and one of the oryx, taking their head and legs, while another four oryx, apparently valued at €5,000, survived the shootings.
According to Spanish newspaper, Informacion, sources, José FMA and Juan AVB, did not have gun licences and photographs were taken of some of the animals shot, according to the report, suggesting the possible collaboration of a third person.
One of the defendants had access to his mother’s Bergara brand rifle, and was recently arrested for poaching and killing a mountain goat in Toledo.
During his arrest, several weapons were confiscated, while the other defendant had his licence withdrawn for illegal hunting.
Guardia Civil officers who went to the animal reserve to begin an investigation found traces of a cigarette butt, a packet of cigarettes and a mesh mask near one of the dead animals.
The Prosecutor’s Office has requested that DNA samples be taken from both of the accused so that they can be compared with the samples found by the officers at the scene.
The gunned down gazelle cuvier tiroteada, the only one of its species in the reserve with a value of at least €20,000, belonged to the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and was part of a conservation programme.
The gazelle is an indigenous or exotic species included in the red list of threatened species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with the category of “vulnerable” and is also listed as having “extensive restrictions on capture” in the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The European fallow deer is protected and its hunting is only allowed when “expressly authorised,” according to the prosecution, which has asked for an extension to the investigation due to “the relatively complex expert evidence pending.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has requested a statement from the accused, the mother of one of them who owned the weapons, as well as authorisation for the Guardia Civil to check the geolocation of the suspects’ mobile phones between the time the nature reserve closed on December 9 and reopened on December 10.