Mexico – The National Guard seized this Thursday about 15,000 animals, including protected species, which were crammed into two buildings in eastern Mexico City, in the Iztapalapa mayor’s office.
The federal security body detailed in a statement that there are two detainees for possession of the animals, among which were turtles, lizards known as “dragoncitos”, crocodiles, macaws, toucans, yellow-headed parakeets and Gila monsters.
These species, some of them endemic, are protected by the Official Mexican Standard NOM-059 of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), added the National Guard.
They are also contemplated within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and by the General Law of Wild Life, the authority deepened.
“Its handling can only be carried out in confinement conditions that guarantee the safety of civil society, in addition to a dignified and respectful treatment of each animal,” said the National Guard.
Mexico is considered one of the five countries with the most biodiversity in the world, concentrating between 10% and 12% of the planet’s biological species, according to the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Conabio) of the Mexican Government.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has warned that illegal animal trafficking is the third most profitable black market, only behind drug and arms trafficking.
In Mexico, the confiscation of protected species has been linked to drug lords’ taste for exotic animals.
On this occasion, the National Guard responded to a citizen complaint in a joint operation with the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) and the Attorney General’s Office (FGR).
The authorities searched the buildings and discovered that the animals “subject to special protection” were in overcrowded conditions.
The security elements did not specify the identity of the detainees or their belonging to an organized crime gang.
They also did not detail what the fate of the confiscated animals will be, although they promised to keep them safe.
“At the moment the authorities are carrying out the corresponding procedures to make it available,” the statement said.