Zoo full of endangered wild animals raided

Police in Argentina have raided an illegal zoo in Buenos Aires where endangered animals were being held.

The cops launched the operation after a complaint was lodged over the existence of a private zoo. During the raid, police discovered more than 100 animals, including mammals and exotic birds, some of which are endangered.

The black market value of the recovered animals is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Among the rescued animals, there were three yellow cardinals, a particularly endangered species of bird.

A judicial source told the Argentine newspaper La Nacion: "The discovery of the yellow cardinals is extremely important, as they are in serious danger of extinction.

"Moreover, they are a protected species not only by national legislation, but also by international organisations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

"Given that there are only between 1,500 and 2,000 specimens globally, it makes the trafficking of these birds even more attractive because of the value they acquire on the black market."

Among the rescued animals were 19 ringneck parakeets, a blue parakeet, two jandaya parakeets, a cockatiel, an eclectus parrot, an African grey parrot, four peacocks, five sirir pampa ducks, a rosy-billed pochard, two southern wigeons, a black swan, two wild ducks and nine flamingo.

The majority of the rescued animals have been relocated to the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve's Wildlife Rescue Centre, according to Argentine police.

They will be quarantined here for initial recovery and assessment before being released back into their natural environments.

An investigation is underway as to whether the animals were part of a personal collection or part of an illegal trafficking ring.