China / Society

Ten panda poachers caught in Southwest China

(Xinhua/ Updated: 2015-05-14 08:11

Ten panda poachers caught in Southwest China

A piece of a wild giant panda fur is measured after 10 suspects involved in killing the panda were detained by police in Yanjin county, Zhaotong city, Southwest China's Yunnan province, May 13, 2015. [Photo/IC]

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, 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.

Internet users burst into anger on Weibo condemning the crime of killing national protected animals. The topic "pandashunted" has been discussed with more than 1.14 million hits by 8:30 am Thursday.

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.

Related: Hunting for sport ignites public fury

One man discovered vanity may be China's most dangerous game after police discovered a photo of him with an illegally poached bear in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Wealthy businessman Li Chengzhang was apprehended by police after he took part in illegal hunting at a protected forest, photographing himself with his trophy kill for use on social networking sites.

The hunters peeled off skin of the bear the next day, cutting it into several pieces and carrying it to the Mianyang City.

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