Canned hunts for rare imported “trophy” species are booming in Spain

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2006:

Only U.S. hunters visit South Africa more
than Spaniards, who make up about 8.5% of the
South Africa hunting traffic–and Spanish hunting
ranch proprietors are trying to keep them home,
even if it requires stocking rare species in
violation of the law.
“In January 2006, 12 Indian blackbuck
antelope were confiscated from a farm near
C├íceres, Extremadura,” recently wrote Sunday
Telegraph correspondent David Harrison. “Guardia
Civil officers said they had found evidence that
exotic beasts had been hunted illegally on at
least six reserves. During the first half of
last year the Guardia Civil game protection unit
confiscated 678 illegally imported live animals
across Spain.”

In the most sensational case, the
Guardia Civil in December 2005 arrested seven
people allegedly in the act of starting to
illegally “hunt” a semi-tame lion and a tiger at
the Lunares reserve, near Monterrubio de la
Serena in the Sierra del Oro mountains, near the
Portuguese border.
The suspects–three hunters, the land
owner, and three staff–were reportedly carrying
.22 rifles, considered much too light to quickly
kill a big cat.
The lion and tiger, apparently bought
from a traveling circus, were sent to a zoo near
Malaga.
A raid on the same farm a month earlier
found the remains of a tiger cub and several
wolves, but not sufficient evidence to link the
killings to any one suspect.
While hunting internationally recognized
endangered and threatened species in Spain is
illegal, hunting captive-reared animals is not.
Hunting ranches in the region where the canned
hunt was raided commonly offer the opportunity to
shoot captive-reared stag, boar, partridge,
rabbits, and thrushes, wrote Elizabeth Nash of
The Independent.

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