China panda arrests: Police detain 10 people for 'killing giant panda and selling off parts'

Police discovered remains including an organ during the investigation

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The Independent Online

Police have arrested 10 people for allegedly killing and selling off the parts of an endangered wild giant panda.

Forest police officers in Yunnan seized the skin, meat, bones and an internal organ of the creature which tops the country’s endangered species list, China Central Television reported.

While poaching giant pandas is unusual, the rarity of the parts means they can fetch high prices on the black market.

A suspect, identified only by his family name Wang, allegedly placed traps after he found his sheep had been killed by wild animals in December.

He and his brother then followed the tracks of an animal that triggered the trap, and found the panda. They then killed the endangered bear, the authorities told the the official Xinhua News Agency.

 

The pair sold off some 35 kg of panda meat and its four paws for 4,800 yuan (£500) to one customer, who then sold the parts on, Xinhua reported.

While the giant panda is endangered, a recent census showed positive advances in the preservation of the creature, as the wild panda population grew by 268 to a total of 1,864 in China since the last survey ending in 2003.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, poaching, which traditionally threatened wild pandas in China, has declined. However, economic development has posed a new threat, as ydropower plants, roads, and mining projects disrupt the animal's natural habitat.

Additional reporting by AP

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