“It To be illegal to look that they have papers these turtles!”. The ecologist gaditano Juan Clavero strip of irony to explain how it has ended up accused of smuggling while attempting to return 23 turtles blackberries to their original habitat in Morocco. With the seen good of this country and of the regional government of Andalusia for their project, the activist of Ecologistas en Acción only lacked to achieve a final permission for the repatriation, but has been met with a possible fine of 20.700 euros of the Tax Agency for an alleged administrative offence serious “is still in the process of allegations”, according to excuse the Sub-delegation of the Government in Cadiz.
The sun on a chilly afternoon in January, Clavero holds in his hands one of the reptiles to hibernate relaxed in the garden of his house in El Puerto de Santa Maria, oblivious to his role in a quagmire of directors that the environmentalist is still not understood and in which he is accused of not having documentation attesting to its provenance. “We had it all organized to return them, there has been a lot of work to tell us now that we are smugglers of turtles”, is complaining Clavero, between disbelief and resignation. Even he has been the only expedientado, to Antonio Acosta, another of the members of the entity will claim another 1,600 euros for participating in the same project, and have kept two specimens further into The Forest.
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Despite having finished accused of smuggling and being threatened with a large fine, the activists sought now to “do good” with what for years was consummated as an illegality, as he recalls Clavero. Turtles berries, or Testudo graeca is a species of north africa which, decades ago, the spaniards introduced from Morocco to keep them as pets, usually without permits or controls. With the tightening of laws by the introduction of non-native animals —to be punished by the Penal Code with up to four years in prison— Ecologists in Action has detected the increase of dropouts of these reptiles in the natural environment of the province of Cadiz.
Although the spur-thighed tortoise was brought to the southeast of the iberian peninsula since the Palaeolithic period, the policy of the ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of the Junta de Andalucía is to confine or to return to their habitat to those reptiles that originate from north Africa by their genetic differences with the same species naturalized today —and declared in danger of extinction— in Almería, Murcia and Doñana (Huelva). Hence, Clavero, and his own were happened 20 years ago to collect two specimens, male and female, to keep them in captivity and return them in the future. The female, a native of Alhucemas, came from a fisherman that gave them and the male, of Ceuta, came to them after the death of a professor of The Forest. Both gave birth to more than two dozens of descendants now await fate in the house of Clavero.
it Was two years ago, when Ecologists in Action started to process the different permissions for the repatriation of the 25 turtles blackberries —23 now custody Clavero, and the two Acosta—. “What we raised with the idea that, finally, they come home,” recalls the first of the environmentalists. Last February, the High Commissariat of Water, Forests and Fight against Desertification of the Kingdom of Morocco reported that it had “not objecciones to the repatriation,” and added that it would subject to a period of quarantine law, “before you release them in the nature”. In may, the concierge andalusian also assessed “positively” the return, according to a letter to which has had access THE COUNTRY. It only remained to get the CITES certificate, which authorizes you to relocate protected species from one country to another, and that it is issued by the Official Service Inspection, Supervision and Regulation of Foreign Trade (soivre inspections), under the previous Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
The Provincial Directorate of Commerce of Cadiz asked Clavero the location of the turtles and some agents of the Seprona of the Civil Guard, went in July to your home to perform an act of voluntary manifestation and take pictures of the specimens. In the document, which has had access to THE COUNTRY is a record of how the environmentalist explained the origin by donation of reptiles and the lack “of any document” that proves its provenance. The surprise of the activist, it came when, at the end of December, received a notification from the Tax Agency that gave the shuttle to the start of a record of an administrative infringement of smuggling, with fines of 20.700 euros. The penalty stemmed from a course record of apprehension of the Seprona in that it refers to the absence of documentary evidence of their origin.
“I Think that the error comes from the fact that it has been taken as a record of arrest and not as an act volunteer. In addition, it refers to the documentation that shows that we counted with the approval of the department and of the soivre inspections,” explains Clavero. Despite the request of THE COUNTRY, the Civil Guard in Cádiz has refused to comment. For its part, the Tax Agency has explained that it may make references to specific cases. Only the offices of the central Government in Cadiz has nuanced than the record of infringement has a period of 15 days “to provide more information or allegations, that does not mean that they will be punished”.
Acosta has already presented its claims, and the ecologist, The Port is already close to making you own, where will justify all the approvals they had for their project. Meanwhile, the 23 turtles that hibernate hidden in the leaf litter of the garden of his chalet, I'll have to wait a bit more to return to his home in Morocco. Yes, it will continue to be under the custody of the ecologist, by mandate of the Tax Agency, although he has an open record, paradoxically, he is appointed depositary of the reptiles. “The only thing we want is for this archive, and, above all, that we finally give you permission to be able to return to your place”, remacha resigned Clavero.