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Spain takes part in major operation to combat illegal animal trading 

The Civil Guard, in the framework of operation “Blizzard” to combat the illegal trade in reptiles and involving 22 countries around the world, has arrested or is investigating six people for trafficking of endangered species.
At European level, approx-imately 1,500 live snakes, lizards and geckos were seized, also resulting in a total of 12 arrests, six in Italy and six in Spain.

 Worldwide, the Blizzard operation resulted in the seizure of 4,419 live animals, including 2,703 turtles, 1,059 snakes, 512 lizards and geckos and 20 crocodiles and alligators. The competent authorities confiscated 152 handbags, wallets, purses, medicines and taxidermy derived from reptiles.
 In Spain, a total of 217 inspections have been carried out in establishments selling animals, wholesalers, private collectors and transporters.
 Likewise, 25 complaints have been made for different contraband infractions, to the regulations on consumption, trade and sale of animals, to animal health and to the environment.
 Among the apprehensions made include 627 living reptiles of many species, some of them of great ecological value, among which are the black tortoise (Testudo graeca), the giant tortoise of Aldabra (Aldab-rachelys gigantean) or the tortoise of spurs African (Centrochelys sulfata).
Some of the seizures were carried out in a clandestine turtle hatchery, as well as in legally registered reptile hatcheries.
“Other irregularities have been detected related to the absence of permits to maintain zoological centres, because they do not correctly manage the waste generated by the activity, or because they do not maintain the adequate hygienic-sanitary conditions of the animals, which shows that in many cases the illicit market uses animals as mere objects of economic transaction, for which there is no concern about their state of health,” said a police spokesman.
Participating countries include Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland , Ukraine and the United States.