Chinese Police Probe Endangered Animal Banquet
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.