Authorities in southern China have opened an investigation into the slaughter and sale of a protected leatherback sea turtle by local fishermen. The case grew to national prominence after cellphone video circulated showing the 200-kilogram (440-pound) turtle being sliced into pieces and sold to eager villagers in the southern province of Guangdong.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday that six villagers have been referred to investigators. It said villagers claimed the turtle was dead when they caught it.
China’s growing animal rights movement has sought to raise awareness of abuses ranging from the slaughter of canines for an annual dog meat festival in a southern city to the farming of bears milked for their bile to be used in traditional Chinese medicine.