Crackdown Launched On Illegal Online Wild Animal Trade In China

National Geographic

Despite a Chinese law that makes it illegal to hunt, sell or purchase wild animals, state-protected animals, or use products derived from them, police in south China’s Guangdong Province announced yesterday some staggering statistics.

Officials revealed that they had seized more than 10,000 wild animals and nearly 1,000 kilograms of products derived from wild animals which prompted them to launch a major crackdown.

National Geographic

The operation was initiated in April after police in the capital Guangzhou were tipped off that rare wild animals were being sold via WeChat, a popular messaging app in China.

In addition to WeChat and QQ, another prominent messaging app in the region, over the past few months police have also been monitoring social media platforms such as Weibo, which is similar to twitter, and some live broadcasting websites.

Li Wenjiang, deputy director of the provincial forest police bureau reported that officials have uncovered more than 5000 messages pertaining to the illegal activity.

An article on provided dramatic examples of some of the situations police are now confronting in various regions.

In one, WeChat messages were used to locate and apprehend three suspects in Zengcheng District, Guangzhou who were in possession of 146 wild animals including rhesus monkeys, gold pythons, and African spurred tortoises.

In Shaoguan, police reportedly seized 74 cobras and a Tibetan macaque after they received a video of the suspects poaching the animals on a live broadcasting platform.

Guangdong police said they will continue tough measures to combat the illegal poaching, trading, purchasing, transporting and storing of wild animals.

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