China / Society

Case closed! Missing nature reserve camera stolen by weasels

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-06 20:35

LANZHOU -- Workers at a nature reserve in northwest China's Gansu Province have finally cleared up an unsolved crime. An infrared camera that went missing in February turned out to have been stolen by three stoats, a type of weasel known for its winter fur.

The gang of stoats, probably parents and their baby, worked together to steal the camera after chewing away the cords holding it in place, according to He Chaogui, an official with the administration of Baishuijiang, a national nature reserve for wild giant pandas, on Friday.

The scene was recorded by another camera nearby around noon on Feb. 27, along with other footage from the first quarter that has recently been collected and released.

There are more than 160 infrared cameras in the reserve.

It was not the first time a wild animal has shown interest in the cameras. In late 2014, a giant panda chewed on a camera while the equipment continued to record.

"I assume it was the first time humans have observed the giant panda's mouth cavity so closely," He said.

The cameras also captured a giant panda urinating onto a tree as it supported itself with its forelegs.

Giant pandas are frequently spotted rubbing against trees to mark their territory and attract females with their smell, according to He.

The cameras have spotted more than 40 wild animal species, including takins -- a type of goat-antelope -- and black bears, He said.

Baishuijiang Nature Reserve, a 220,000-hectare mountainous area covered with dense forest in south Gansu, is one of the largest habitats for wild pandas.

Hot Topics