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 extinct species.
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.
Among the collection was at least one Scimitar oryx, which was declared extinct 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.