Police have 10 suspects in custody for allegedly killing a wild panda and selling its meat in Yunnan, one of China’s southwestern provinces. Police were tipped off in December about the illegal killing and selling of bear near. Investigators were shocked when DNA tests came back with alarming results, a state broadcaster reported.
“We realized this was a serious case when test results came back saying panda. To be cautious we asked them to run the tests again, and it was confirmed, this was panda,” said Shi Qin, the forensic science director of Yunnan’s police department in an interview with China Central Television.
Three of the 10 suspects have been formally arrested and the two prime suspects, brothers surnamed Wang, confessed to the police that they shot a female panda in a tree unknowingly. They said that they thought it was just a “big animal.” They later sold 35 kilograms of meat, and the panda’s paws for 4800 yuan (equivalent of $773).
Police uncovered the pelt of a panda, parts of a skull, and other remains at the suspects’ home.
Giant pandas are one of the world’s most endangered species, and the World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are only 1,800 pandas living in the wild.