Four wildlife smugglers sentenced for trading in wild red pandas in southwest China

Jail term up to 10 years as three endangered animals die in transit from its mountainous habitat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 May, 2016, 4:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 May, 2016, 4:41pm

Four wildlife smugglers were sentenced up to 10 years imprisonment for illegal hunting, transporting and trading of six endangered wild red pandas – three of which died in transit– mainland media reports.

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The pandas died while being transported in a sports utility vehicle from a mountain in southwest Sichuan province to illegal wildlife markets last November, according to the news portal Thepaper.cn.

One of the dead pandas was stuffed inside a nylon bag and thrown into a gutter.

Charges were framed against the smugglers, whose identity was not revealed in the report, on April 28.

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They were also found to be carrying two live golden pheasants in knitted bags and four wedge-tailed green pigeons in empty beer cans.

Red pandas are often poached for their soft and brightly coloured fur, which are used to make scarves and coats. Many like to keep them at home as cute pets.