Threatened by habitat destruction and a lucrative black market trade in skins, bones and other body parts, a little bit of justice for tigers everywhere was meted out last week when villagers who killed and ate China's last Indochinese tiger were sentenced up to 12 years in prison and fined. It appears that conservation laws are pretty much ineffective in the face of human greed and appetite. Kang Wannian, a villager from Mengla, Yunnan province, maintains that he shot the legally-protected tiger subspecies out of self-defense - before dismembering it and eating it with four other accomplices.
According to Xinhua News Agency:
[Kang] shot to death what he claimed an "unspecified animal" after dark while in a hunt with Gao Zuqiao for a kind of frog in the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in February. The two fled the scene after learning the animal was a tiger.
Last officially sighted in China in 2007, it is believed that Kang killed the last living specimen of this endangered species in China.
For his part, Kang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing a rare animal, in addition to 2 years for the possession of a firearm, and fined $14,642 USD. His co-conspirators were also convicted for "covering up and concealing criminal gains" and will spend 3 to 4 years in jail.
Thankfully, there still exists other Indochinese tigers (also known as Corbett's tiger or Panthera tigris corbetti) in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam. However, it is estimated that they number under 1,000 and are heavily threatened by illegal poaching and loss of habitat.
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