LA PAZ – Bolivian police seized 5,000 live baby caimans in an operation against animal trafficking in the oriental province of Santa Cruz, which borders on Brazil and Paraguay, the provincial government said Saturday.
Dealers had shipped the baby caimans in trucks to the city of Santa Cruz from the village of San Matias on the Brazilian border, an area rich in wetlands and animal diversity.
Santa Cruz Environment Secretary Manilo Roca said that the baby caimans of the yacare species, a medium to small sized crocodilian, have now been cared for and fed and could be returned to their habitat.
Confiscated from the same trucks were 500 caiman skins of various sizes, with a total value of $18,000.
Roca said that if the owners of the shipment do not have authorization to engage in this kind of commerce, they will be tried for illegal trafficking of a species that can only be sold under a management plan with special permits.