China has ordered an investigation into government officials feasting on Pangolins, the world’s most trafficked and endangered animal, at a banquet in China’s Guangxi province in 2015. The post about the meal at the banquet drew outrage on social media after which investigation was prompted. A series of pictures were posted by Weibo user Ah_cal, who claimed the banquet had been hosted by Chinese government officials and also added a caption to one of the pictures saying the Pangolin meat was “delicious,” according to Chinese outlets.
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At least 10,000 Pangolins are killed every year, both for their scales and their meat. The animals brown skin is highly priced in Vietnam and China for assumed medicinal purposes as the scale is made of keratin same as fingernails of human which has no medicinal properties.The police is investigating whether the the trafficked mammal was consumed at the banquet, Xinhua state news agency reported.
Government officials from the Guangxi Investment Promotion Bureau have been pointed to as the possible hosts of the banquet, reports Chinese news agency Xinhua. The bureau, however, has denied any involvement.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, banned the international trade of Pangolins and their parts, in September but the largest ever seizure of trafficked Pangolin scales were found in China, announced authorities. More than three tons had arrived in a Shanghai port from Nigeria. Approximately 5,000 to 7,500 Pangolins were estimated to have been killed for that shipment, according to a report by The Huffington Post.
The Pangolin is a protected animal in China and consumption of its meat is a punishable offense with up to 10 years in jail.
(With inputs from AFP)