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Spain investigates private taxidermy collection with more than 1,000 animals

An elephant in the collection.
Spanish Civil Guard
An elephant in the collection.

The Spanish Civil Guard says it is investigating a person who owned a private taxidermy collection with more than 1,000 animals, including some that are protected or nearing extinction.

Species of cheetah, leopard, polar bear, rhinoceros, along with nearly 200 ivory elephant tusks, were among the extensive collection, valued at 29 million euros — more than $31 million.

Officials identified 1,090 stuffed animals in two warehouses that cover more than 50,000 square meters in Bétera, a town north of Valencia, Spain. Of the animals, 405 are considered protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Ivory elephant tusks in the collection.
/ Spanish Civil Guard
/
Spanish Civil Guard
Ivory elephant tusks in the collection.

Among the collection was at least one scimitar oryx, which was declared extinct in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2000. The nearly extinct Bengal tiger and addax, which is a white antelope, are also among the collection.

Next, the Civil Guard says agents will investigate whether any documentation justifies the possession of the taxidermied animals.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: April 13, 2022 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly said the scimitar oryx is extinct. In fact, this oryx is classified as extinct in the wild.
Rina Torchinsky