A MAN living as a Native American in Swansea has won a court battle for his right to keep badger paws and eagle wings in his semi-detached home.
Father-of-six Mangas Colaradas, 60, had been due to stand trial today for keeping protected wild animal parts in his home filled with the trappings of his Native American lifestyle.
But Mangas vowed to fight the court case on the grounds that it is part of his Apache life — even though he lives in a three-bed semi in Townhill.
And he was dancing with joy yesterday after charges were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service before he gave his evidence.
Mangas — born in Wales, more than 6,000 miles from the plains of the Apache tribe — said: “I’m pleased they dropped it, it shouldn’t have come to anything in the first place.
“Common sense should have come into it far sooner, but they just don’t understand my native way of life.
“It’s been a big waste of money and a dreadful thing to have hanging over me. But I was always confident I would clear my name.”
Mangas refuses to reveal his original name — he answers only to his adopted name in honour of a famous Apache chief.
He was charged under the Protection of Badgers Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act over the badger and eagle relics.
He had previously appeared in court wearing a ceremonial head dress, tassled jacket, suede moccasins and a snake’s head necklace to deny the charge at Swansea Magistrates’ Court.
At the time Anne Griffiths, defending, said: “My client Mangas is part of a Native American Apache tribe.
“He has spent time living in these Apache communities and this is his belief.”
But the case was thrown out after his defence team provided expert evidence from an animal specialist.
Mangas said: “Animals come first to me, there was nothing cruel about it, I would never hurt or kill an animal.
“But as a native, when I find a dead animal I will eat it or I will use its body parts.”
The father-of-six began living a Native American lifestyle after he divorced from his wife in the early 1990s. In 1997 he travelled to the US to try and live on a Red Indian reservation but the American Government would not let him.
He then moved to Spain in 2000 where he lived in a tepee in the mountains and the forest around Torremolinos.
He brought the badger paws and eagle wings back with him from Spain planning to turn them into a headdress.
But he was arrested before he was able to do this when police found his Apache collection at his three-bedroom detached house in Townhill.
Now the case is over they will return the items to him but have told him he will have to apply for a licence if he wants to turn them into clothing.
He added: “I don’t mind. I’ve got plenty of other things I can use to make my jewellery.
“I dress like this all the time, I’m not just some weekend Indian. I don’t put it on to show off, I put it on because I want to wear it.
“I’m against modern life, nobody cares about anybody else, nobody cares about mother earth.
“The whole point of the Native American lifestyle is that everyone believes in mother earth and treats others who you want to be treated.” Mangas is currently working in Portsmouth where he is doing snake shows on the seafront for the summer season.
The animal lover added: “I’ve cured thousands of people of their fear of snakes, I don’t believe in money, I just do it to educate people.
“I get on with animals better than most people, I’ve got an affinity with them. There are no bad animals just bad keepers.
“I’ve owned hundreds of snakes in my time, I eat them when they die, we natives don’t believe in letting anything go to waste.”
Jackie Lis, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in Wales, confirmed charges were dropped.
She said: “For a prosecution to take place, there must be sufficient evidence to suggest a realistic prospect of conviction.
“A prosecution must also be deemed to be in the public interest. Having considered expert evidence from a number of sources, we concluded there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to the charges against Mr Colaradas.
“This is because some of the expert opinion on how the owl and badger parts came to be in Mr Colaradas’s possession was contradictory.
“There was also a lack of consensus as to when the animal and bird parts may have been obtained.”