Wild eagles sold on internet in China spark police investigations
Sellers tame birds by forcing them to stay awake, starving them, according to whistle-blower on social media
Investigations are under way in China into allegations that wild eagles and other birds of prey are being sold on an internet live-streaming and photo-sharing app, according to a newspaper report.
Police were tipped off on social media about the cases.
An account on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, said the protected birds were offered for sale on the Kuaishou app, which has about 400 million users, mainly on their mobile phones.
Police in central China’s Hunan province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in the south of the country were investigating the cases, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Monday.
One Kuaishou user posted more than 200 videos featuring eagles and other birds of prey. In one of them a group of raptors are seen fighting over the carcass of a dead dove.
In another video, eight birds are seen with a subtitle saying “anyone who wants them should contact me”.
Other sellers live-streamed pictures of their caged birds and left contact information for interested buyers, the report said.
The Weibo user who tipped off the police urged internet users to alert the authorities if they saw similar cases.
The person, with the username “Detective Holmes”, has reported more than 20 cases of people trying to sell birds of prey online since the end of October.
To tame the wild birds, the sellers kept them awake and starved them, the person said.
Several species of eagle have protected status in China.
Guangxi police were quoted as saying that it could be some time before they had enough information to make any arrests.