Chinese brothers accused of setting up booby traps to kill protected bears

Trio arrested on suspicion of using home-made guns and bombs to kill threatened species that is often targeted for use in traditional medicine

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 12:56pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 4:17pm

Police in northeastern China have arrested three men accused of hunting black bears with a booby trap that deployed self-made guns and bombs in a national reserve.

Three brothers in Yanbian, Jilin province, one of whom was described as an experienced hunter, are accused of killing three of the protected animals in the Northeast Tiger National Park before selling their body parts.

They allegedly cut off the animals’ paws and removed their gall bladders, the State Forestry Administration said in an article published on its WeChat public account on Monday.

Asiatic black bears are classed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature owing to concerns about the impact of deforestation and illegal hunting for use in traditional medicine.

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The authorities detained the trio and five others accused of being involved in the transaction chain earlier this month after receiving a tip-off about the discovery of the dismembered body of a black bear in June.

They also seized four self-made guns, four self-made bombs and all the paws and gall bladders from the bears.

The three brothers, the eldest of whom was imprisoned in 1992 for illegal wildlife hunting, are accused of burying the bombs in certain areas of the forest and fixing the guns on the ground with their triggers attached to nearby bushes by a rope.

When a bear stepped up on the fuse or rope, the traps were designed to go off and kill the animal.

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Three bears were reported to have been killed in this fashion over the space of two months. Their paws and gall bladders were reported to have been sold on to a fourth man and then passed along a supply chain.

The article did not say how much the body parts had been sold for.

Police later searched the areas where the bears were hunted and four guns were removed from the park.

Further investigations were being conducted and no one is yet known to have been charged.