Illegal killing of wildlife is rampant in Tibet, where several hunters have bragged on popular social media networks about the game they bagged, China News reported.
A netizen posted a photo of himself with a graceful white crane with its wings unfolded. He was smiling with “great satisfaction and pride”, the report said.
White cranes are categorized as first-class endangered species under state protection, it said.
Another netizen, from the Guangxi region, showed off a photo of a leopard cat tied with ropes to the back seat of a scooter.
“Are you trying to drive all wild animals to extinction in our country,” a netizen wrote in his Weibo miniblog account and requested that the State Forestry Administration step in.
The tweet had been forwarded more than 5,000 times by last weekend, and many netizens urged authorities to launch an investigation and punish those involved in the killing of the leopard cat.
The State Forestry Administration responded in its Weibo account that it was “seriously investigating the case”.
However, the outcome of the investigation was a great surprise.
Local authorities said they found out that the so-called leopard cat was actually a domestic cat. A local villager bought the cat for 28 yuan (US$4.56) last year, and the animal gained weight to almost four kilograms within a year.
The villager found the cat was stealing food and killed it last month.
However netizens were unconvinced. One wrote online: “What kind of a domestic cat was it? I want one, too.”
China is the largest market for illegal wildlife. A huge number of related animal products are sold online, Xinhua reported, citing a new report by an animal welfare group.
At least 18,590 animal products were for sale online in the country at the beginning of this year, the International Fund for Animal Welfare said.
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