Endangered species found in China supermarket’s seafood section

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 June, 2018, 10:42am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 June, 2018, 10:42am

A supermarket in southwestern China is being investigated after it was found illegally selling nationally protected animals such as the giant salamander, Chinese sturgeon and Chinese alligator.

Local authorities received a tip-off about the store in downtown Chengdu, Sichuan province, Chengdu Business News reported on Wednesday.

The critically endangered aquatic animals were found at the seafood section of the supermarket, according to the report.

A manager at the supermarket told the authorities that the store had opened for business not long ago and had put the animals on display mainly to attract customers, according to the report.

But photos showed the creatures in transparent blue-bottomed tanks, with their prices marked out by weight as is the practice for the sale of live seafood.

For 500 grams of the animals, the giant salamanders were being sold at 118 yuan, the Chinese alligators at 88 yuan and the Chinese sturgeons at 22.5 yuan.

Many customers stopped at the seafood section to take pictures of the creatures.

The supermarket had not been aware that a special aquatic wildlife management licence was required for the use of such species in their business, the manager told the authorities, according to the report.

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Upon request, the store’s supplier could provide only a photocopied document purportedly showing a licence to artificially breed such animals, the report said.

Further investigation is ongoing.

According to China’s wildlife conservation laws, it is illegal to buy, sell or use protected animals or products made from them without obtaining a special wildlife business licence.

The giant salamander is on the country’s second-grade wildlife protection list, but artificially bred species are allowed to be farmed and sold by licensed farmers.

The Chinese alligator is also on the second-grade protection list, while the Chinese sturgeon is a first-grade protected species.

All three animals are critically endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s classification, meaning the creatures face extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

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