In an anti-smuggling operation assisted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, police in Columbia rescued over 1,000 species, including birds, starfish, and tarantulas.
According to a news statement from the National Police of Columbia, the operation also recovered lizards, snakes, and turtles before they were sold on the illicit market for more than $1 million.
According to the announcement, local environmental officials and police collaborated on the statewide “Leopard” operation, which resulted in 21 arrests.
“The most important operation to save endangered species in Colombia was performed by the national police in conjunction with wildlife officials from the United States,” General Jorge Luis Vargas, the commander of the national police, told Reuters.
Environmental officials now have custody of all 1,004 animals.