Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Cops have found the body parts of over 1,400 exotic animals in a dozen shops selling Shakespearean style ingredients to be used in witchcraft potions.
The use of animal parts in potions, creams and powders has been around for thousands of years with Shakespeare immortalising the relationship between witches and animal parts in his 1605 play Macbeth, where the cauldron of the three witches contains: “Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog.”
And such superstitions, it seems, remain strong today in modern-day South America, where according to local media, body parts of animals such as toucans, pumas, snakes and other species were found in 12 witches brew supply stores in the central Colombian capital Bogota.
Environmental authorities in the capital city carried out a six-month investigation that resulted in them raiding the stores in the company of reporters from the national newscast service Noticias Caracol.
Reports said the animals were hunted in the Colombian jungles of the Amazon, Putumayo and Caqueta and were slaughtered for their body parts.
In the company of reporters, undercover agents were offered sacrificed animal parts by shop assistants.
One store worker showed them a rattlesnake’s tail and said: “If you want it, I can give it to you after prayers.”
The assistant also reportedly offered deer parts to ward off epileptic attacks and an armadillo tail to help with migraines.
Environment deputy secretary Oscar Lopez said: “There is a market related to witchcraft where these parts are used.
“It ends up affecting our ecosystems as many of the animals that live in these areas are endangered species, such as toucans.”
He added: “There are many myths and unfounded beliefs and thanks to them, the illegal trade thrives.”
Claudia Suarez, deputy director of wildlife at the Ministry of Environment, said: “All wildlife commercialisation is prohibited. It is considered the third most lucrative trade after drugs and weapons.”
The investigation is ongoing.
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