Two very rare leopards have been killed by poachers in the past two weeks in Shaanxi province, police said today.
According to Xinhua, the two poachers turned themselves in on Wednesday when police found the remains of a male leopard. They said they’d bought the leopard in Xinyang City and taken it to Yan’an City, where they are suspected to have killed it.
Police reportedly disguised themselves as buyers and met with sellers on January 19, when they caught a mini SUV and male leopard at the scene.
Police are still investigating the case, and are also searching for a person suspected of killing a female leopard in Yan’an.
Two men were found trying to transport the dead female leopard from a forest on January 17, and according to the head of the city’s wildlife protection administration, Gao Jinlong, this leopard is the first of its kind to be seen in Shaanxi in decades.
“We’ve heard of rumors of a leopard here for many years, but never found any solid evidence. It’s such a great shame that the rumors were finally verified with the bloody truth,” Gao was quoted as saying.
He added that the wild population of this type of leopard is only a few hundred, and it was put on the list of animals under high national-level protection in 1983.
Sadly, police in Zhejiang province on January 8 also caught two men trying to transport a rare Siberian tiger in the trunk of a white Toyota SUV.
Under the country’s criminal law, people who illegally traffic endangered wild animals can face a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail with added fines.
[Image Credit: Tambako the Jaguar ]