Bengal cub rescued from smugglers
The Bengal tiger cub was rescued when police arrested a gang of alleged smugglers. All trade in the endangered animals is illegal. Photo: Sina Weibo
Police in central China rescued a Bengal tiger cub from a group of six suspected smugglers on Wednesday.
Although the endangered tigers are protected by Chinese law, the smugglers “bought” the tiger cub for 250,000 yuan (about HK$312,000) from online “dealers”, police in Henan province, central China, said on their official Sina Weibo website on Thursday.
Police in Sanmenxia, where the cub was rescued, told the South China Morning Post that they were still investigating the case, but did not know where the cub had been smuggled from, or how the suspected smugglers had “bought” it online.
However, one local Chinese newspaper reported a policeman saying that the tiger cub had been smuggled into Sanmenxia from Jiaozuo.
Initial reports said that Henan police had arrested all six suspected members of the smuggling gang. But another Sanmenxia police officer said that one alleged smuggler, from Shandong, was still on the run.
All trade in tigers – including the poaching, killing, or sale and trade in tiger parts – has been banned in China since 1993; the country classifies them as a grade one protected species.
However, illegal trade in tigers remains a serious problem.
In March police had caught a gang of men believed to have smuggled up to 20 live big cats into the southern Guangdong city of Zhanjiang to be slaughtered and then cooked and eaten for the entertainment of businessmen and government officials.
Trade in poached tiger skins, meat and bones also continues; tiger bones are still used in traditional Chinese medicine and as a tonic for men.
Source: South China Morning Post
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