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Published Wednesday February 13, 2019
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Police arrested man suspected of selling a caiman

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In a cooperative venture, agents of the Environmental Unit of the Judicial Investigation Organization and agents of the Ministry of the Environment, officers arrested a man who is suspected of selling wild animals.

The agents report that they received a complaint about a man who was offering to sell caiman as pets on social networks. After an investigation, the police arrested the suspect and seized his vehicle, telephone, cash, and a live newborn caiman (Caiman crocodilus).

The prosecutor reports that the caiman “was stressed and dehydrated, was transferred to a Rescue Center in La Garita de Alajuela* for veterinary and biological assessment to analyze the possibility of releasing it to its natural environment."

According to the agents of the Ministry of Environment, this species of reptile is protected by the Wildlife Law and is categorized as an endangered species. The sale, purchase, trafficking and transfer of wildlife is prohibited, and is a crime that has penalties ranging from 1 to 3 years in prison or fines of between 4 and 17 million colones (between $6,556 and $27,863).

Pablo Vásquez and Shirley Ramírez Carvajal, biologists of the Ministry, said that caiman are predators whose function in the ecosystem is the regulation of populations, directly affect the food chain, and are essential for the functioning of an ecosystem. Wildlife in general plays a fundamental role for the ecological processes that sustain life on the planet including humans. They are the public property of all Costa Ricans.

"Wild animals are not exotic pets, wildlife is not accustomed to captivity,” said the specialists. They added that people who want the animals for pets cannot provide the diet and conditions the animals have in the wild.  “A wild animal should only be in captivity if you have no other option of life," they said.

Rodney Rojas, Chief of the Crime Section, said that "the Judicial Investigation Organization will continue to carry out operations of this type to catch wildlife traffickers who have been operating with organized networks."

The caiman was confiscated by the officers of the National Animal Health Service and the suspect was sent to cells of the Public Ministry waiting for a judge to determine the pre-trial measures.

In another recent case of animal trafficking, reported by AM Costa Rica yesterday, police arrested two German citizens at the airport for trafficking in spiders and ants.


Caiman021319.jpg 
Environmental Unit o courtesy photo

The suspect was offering to sell caiman as pets
on social networks.


Officials of the Juan Santamaria Airport* police in Alajuela, with the collaboration of German officials, detained two German citizens, surnamed Goldnik, 22, and Ollesch, 54, for animal trafficking.

According to the police report, agents received a call yesterday from officials of the National Animal Health Service who suspected that a German tourist intended to leave the country with several species of invertebrates. The Costa Rican agents had received a police alert from Germany about a man who already had a record of trafficking in animal species.

Agents at the airport set up an additional luggage screening for people leaving the country.

"The airport police inspected the luggage of the suspects, recovering the species that were inside the checked baggage. There they located several small containers with spiders and live ants," said the police in their report.

The animals were confiscated by the officers of the National Animal Health Service and the suspects were sent to cells of the Public Ministry waiting for a judge to determine the pre-trial measures.

Officials call on the public to report any suspicion of sale or trafficking of wild animals, at the confidential phone number: 800-8000-645




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Have you know anyone who was selling wild animals? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to: news@amcostarica.com

*Link to reach the place on map.











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