Colombian authorities seized 1,400 animal parts intended for witchcraft rituals and amulets from shops in the capital Bogota, officials said on Thursday September 12th.
The seizure was part of the ‘Operation Ancestors’ project, which was carried out on Wednesday by municipal officials and Bogota police officers, AFP reported on Friday September 13th.
During the raid, authorities found 442 snake rattles, 128 mammal teeth, 23 tapir hooves, a cat skull, toucan heads, 12 necklaces made of monkey appendages, deer hooves, feathers from parrots and macaws, as well as skins from ocelots, pumas, boa constrictors, anacondas and primates.
Under Colombian law, people who sell or traffic wild species face up to eight years in prison and multi-million dollar fines.
The parts found for sale in Bogota's central La Candelaria neighborhood came from animals captured in the Amazon or other regions of Colombia, the world's second most biodiverse country, after Brazil.
"These objects were mainly used for rituals and worship by people who procured them illegally," Bogota's under-secretary of environment Oscar Lopez told media on Thursday.
The parts were bought by "all kinds of people for healing rituals or esoteric rituals. In particular, people who make amulets to protect themselves from being shot," a source from Bogota's environment secretariat told AFP.