These images show hundreds of carcasses seized from the owner of an online wildlife market selling the meat of potentially disease-carrying animals such as raccoons and eagles.
A female suspect surnamed Huang, who police said ran the online business conducted mainly through messaging application WeChat, was arrested in the county of Pingguo in Baise, a city in China’s southern Guangxi region.
Forestry authorities now engaged in a nationwide crackdown on wildlife trade said they raided Huang’s refrigeration facility on 31st January.
Freezers kept in a rental unit contained the carcasses of 250 birds, three eagles, two leopard cats, 48 racoons, 30 squirrels and three pheasants, the police said.
But in online advertisements, Huang allegedly offered quotes for the meat of horse, dog and sparrow, as well as the testicles of pigs and goats.
Forestry police officer Tan Chunmao reported: “The female vendor Huang sold frozen wildlife through WeChat for an extended period of time.
“She also created a WeChat chat group, access to which was granted to loyal customers.”
According to the police, Huang admitted to purchasing the carcasses of exotic game, freezing them, and then selling them online.
She remains in custody as further investigations continue.
Chinese officials have moved to temporarily suspend the trading of wild animals amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed 362 people – 361 in China alone – and infected nearly 17,500.
The announcement came after the viral respiratory disease was traced to a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei Province, where it turned out unregulated wildlife was also being sold by the pound.
Experts say the exotic meat may carry deadly pathogens such as the novel of the coronavirus.
For the time being, however, the precise origins of the new strain remains a mystery.
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.