A protected giant sea turtle weighing 208kg was slaughtered and chopped into pieces to be sold after it was caught by fisherman in southern China, according to a local newspaper. Photos posted on social media came to the public’s attention on Tuesday, the Zhanjiang Daily reported. The photos showed the massive leatherback sea turtle being tied to a board attached to a trolley in the coastal town of Qianshan, Guangdong province. Outcry after protected whale shark caught off coast of southern China It was reported that the turtle was so heavy that it took more than 10 people to move the trolley. Local fishermen referred to the animal as a “giant sea monster” before identifying its species and rushing it away to be slaughtered. Another photo showed a group of people cutting the turtle into pieces that were sold in less than two hours for 140 yuan (HK$160) per kilogram, local villagers said. It was estimated the seller pocketed at least 20,000 yuan from the sale. The turtle’s capture and slaughter raised much attention online. Leatherback sea turtles were listed as endangered in 2013 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are classified as a second class national protected animal in China. They are the largest of all turtles and inhabit the tropics from the east coast of the Americas to Africa and Asia and the western Pacific. It is rarely spotted in western Guangdong. The species can grow up to three metres in length with its shell extending more than two metres high. The leatherback sea turtle population has been falling dramatically and could be extinct within 10 to 20 years, according to the newspaper report. China's famous 'river pigs' close to extinction: WWF Overfishing, climate change, oceanic pollution and tourism development have been blamed for leatherback turtle numbers dropping by 95 per cent between 1990 to 2009, according to conservation reports. According to Chinese law, those who illegally hunt, kill, purchase, transport or sell endangered species can be jailed for between three years to 10 years. Other second class national protected animals in China include the moon bear, pangolin and Tibetan antelope.