Police in China’s Sichuan province have seized more than two tons of animal parts and whole carcasses, in a large-scale wildlife poaching arrest in the city of Mianyang.
According to the Huaxi City Daily, the seizure is the culmination of a six-month investigation and was 2016’s largest wildlife parts arrest.
In total, 193 animal carcasses or parts were seized, from a wide variety of animals. Included were 9 bear heads, 11 bear claws, 42 owl bodies, eagle bodies, 3 crocodile parts and a collection of pangolin scales.
The investigation was kicked off in summer 2015 with a citizen’s tip that Mianyang restaurants were selling bear meat.
Police learned that all manner of wildlife parts were trafficked from within and without the province by the criminal network they shut down. The final illegal transaction before arrests commenced saw four live bears sold to the accused leader of the illegal parts scheme.
The market for illegal wildlife parts in China can be a lucrative one for poachers, and the country is the destination for a wide range of poached animal parts. Pangolin scales alone — believed to have value in traditional Chinese medicine — can fetch some US $20,000 per kilo
The news comes as China would seem to be stepping up its prosecutions of illegal wildlife traffickers. Last month came word of an enormous seizure of pangolin scales, and the country just announced a complete ban on illegal ivory.
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