Chi­nese Po­lice Probe En­dan­gered An­i­mal Ban­quet

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a ban­quet where gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials may have feasted on en­dan­gered pan­golins, con­sid­ered the most traf­ficked mam­mal on earth, af­ter posts about the meal drew out­rage on so­cial media. The an­i­mal’s brown scales are made of noth­ing more than ker­atin but are highly prized in Viet­nam and China where they are mis­lead­ingly touted as hav­ing medic­i­nal prop­er­ties. Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the “scaly anteater” was in­deed con­sumed at a ban­quet. A post from 2015, which re­cently resur­faced on the Chi­nese so­cial media site Weibo, claimed that Guangxi of­fi­cials in­vited in­vestors to eat the an­i­mal, which is listed as crit­i­cally en­dan­gered by the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture. Sev­eral pho­tos showed an abun­dant feast, along with the user’s ob­ser­va­tion: “It was my first time eat­ing [pan­golin]...I’ve al­ready fallen deeply for the wild taste!” In China, the pan­golin is un­der state pro­tec­tion. Eat­ing it is pun­ish­able by up to 10 years in prison.

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