Police in southwest China investigating man who sold protected wildlife for four years
His case came to light after police found animal parts in the boot of a customer’s car
Authorities in Sichuan are investigating a man who has been selling protected wildlife including bear paws and owls for the past four years.
The case was revealed after another man, his customer, received a suspended six-month detention sentence recently for buying a bear paw and a horse leg which he believed came from a bharal, or Himalayan blue sheep, a large goat-antelope native to the Himalayas, the West China City News reported.
The animal parts, bought mainly from local hunters for about 1,000 yuan (US$147), were sold illegally and made their way secretly to dinner tables. Each time they changed hands, the price doubled, the report said.
Police seized a whole freezer of wild animal parts including seven bear paws and five owls in a raid at the seller’s home in Yaan last summer.
The seller has been since taken into custody and still under investigation.
He came to the attention of authorities after the buyer, who was at the same time fined 3,000 yuan according to a recent court ruling, was caught hiding a bear paw and a bharal leg in the boot of his car in June last year.
He confessed that he had bought them for a total price of 2,800 yuan from the seller and planned to give them to his boss as a gift.
The buyer was then put in detention. The bharal leg turned out to be that of a horse when it was examined by an expert.
The seller told police that the bear paws were either purchased from local hunters or picked up by himself in the mountains. They were sold at various prices and finally served as top-class tonic.
“A dish of bear’s paw could be sold at up to 10,000 yuan when they were most popular,” an unnamed source from the catering industry was quoted as saying.