Chinese police seize two tonnes of wild animal parts in raid on poachers
Six suspects arrested in bust that followed a six-month operation
Sichuan police seized about two tonnes of dismembered wild animals – including bears, owls and pangolins – in its largest raid on wildlife poaching last year.
The police department sorted and counted the parts confiscated in the raid, which took place in Mianyang in October last year, on Tuesday and identified 193 animal carcasses, according to Huaxi City Daily.
The police reported that six people were arrested for illegally trafficking wildlife and that the operation to capture the suspects had spanned six months.
According to police investigator Wenhao Liu, the major suspect in the crimes who was identified by the surname Liang and known as “Wildlife Liang” or “Snake Liang” in the poaching business, was caught with his inventory in October.
In the haul, the police found nine black bear heads, 42 owls and a variety of products made from the scales of pangolins and alligators.
The count on Tuesday reported even more animal parts, including seven more bear heads, 11 bear paws, three alligator claws and another pile of owl carcasses.
“Liang receives these wildlife products from suppliers all over the country,” Liu said. “Then he sells them in different parts of Sichuan.”
Liang admitted that he worked with three bear slaughterhouse owners and two other people including a 70-year-old woman who served as a go-between for the business.
Liang said that the most recent transaction took place in September when four black bears were slaughtered and parts of each sold for a total of up to 8,000 yuan (US$1,150).
To crack down on wildlife trafficking, the government recently revised the Wildlife Protection Law, with the revision coming into effect on January 1.