The Mexican National Guard seized this Thursday about 15,000 animals, including protected species, that were crowded 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 there 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 detailed.
“Its handling can only be carried out in confined conditions that ensure safety of civil society, in addition to a dignified and respectful treatment of each animal “, exposed the National Guard.
Thanks to a citizen complaint and derived from field investigations and court orders, we seized around 15 thousand animals of different species, some protected by official regulations. The assurance in #CDMX was coordinated with staff from @FGRMexico Y @PROFEPA_MXpic.twitter.com/bcgBx2x2JL
– National Guard (@GN_MEXICO_) November 26, 2020
Mexico is considered one of the five countries with the most biodiversity in the world, by 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, alone behind the smuggling of drugs and weapons.
In Mexico, the confiscation of protected species has been linked to the the drug lords’ fondness 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 crowded conditions.
The sources did not specify the identity of the detainees nor if they belong to an organized crime gang. They also did not specify the fate of the confiscated animals, although they promised to keep them safe.