Spanish police seized one of Europe's largest taxidermy animal discoveries Sunday as they investigate potential smuggling after hundreds of stuffed endangered animals were found in a giant warehouse in Valencia.
The Guardia Civil discovered over 1,000 specimens in a 50,000-square-meter (538,000-square-foot) industrial warehouse in Betera, Valencia on Wednesday, it said in a statement Sunday.
The haul of stuffed animals included over 400 protected species, including some that are extinct, such as the scimitar oryx, or severely threatened, such as the Bengal tiger. Others included lions, leopards, cheetahs and lynx.
The warehouse owner is under investigation for smuggling and crimes against flora and fauna, police said. He has not been arrested.
Investigators estimate the stuffed animals are worth 29 million euros ($32 million).
The discovery was the culmination of an investigation by Valencia police's Nature Protection Team, which began in November 2021 when agents became aware of a possible private collection in Betera./Reuters