Ten panda poachers caught in Southwest China

Updated: 2015-05-14 08:11


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Ten panda poachers caught in Southwest China

Seized panda skin. [Photo from Sina Weibo]

KUNMING - Ten people have been apprehended in Southwest China's Yunnan province for killing a panda and trading in its meat, local authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

The suspects allegedly killed a giant panda in Zhaotong, Northeast Yunnan. Of the ten suspects, three have been formally arrested, a forestry official told Xinhua.

The panda's fur, skull and leg bones were seized by police. Police also seized ten kilograms of meat. The dead animal was an adult female.

According to Yunnan Forestry Administration, a sheep belonging to a man named Wang was killed in December. Wang and his brother tracked the predator across a nearby hillside with a hunting dog. Only after he shot what he described as a "big animal", did Wang realize it was a panda. The injured animal climbed a tree, and Wang shot it again.

Wang later sold the panda's meat and feet to a man named Li. The meat then changed hands between other five people.

Pandas have not been seen in Yunnan for centuries, but after the killing, the provincial forestry administration searched nearby areas and concluded that at least one panda lived there.

The administration found the area to be a suitable habitat for pandas and will establish whether pandas live in the area.

Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. About 1,600 live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, while more than 300 live in captivity.

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