Appalled citizens stood in horror as they watched a dead whale shark being driven on a pick-up truck across the streets of China’s Xiapu County, as the animal’s tail run along the concrete leaving a trail of blood behind it.
Gruesome footage spread across the Internet showed that same shark being hacked to pieces by a group of men. But on Wednesday, the local government of Xiapu County announced it had made an arrest in connection to the incident. The people driving the truck had reportedly planned to sell the animal to a local hotel before management turned down the offer on the count of the shark being too “smelly.”
Authorities said the man in question had been charged with selling endangered animal parts. The whale shark is technically a nationally-protected animal, but endangered-animal laws are known for being loosely enforced in the country.
On multiple occasions, fisherman who were caught after capturing the shark had received less than a slap on the wrist. Some claimed to have been unaware of the law including a Fujian fisherman who caught one in 2014. He brought the carcass back to town to earn a profit. When authorities caught him, he claimed he did not know it was a whale shark. Police told him he could not sell the animal for profit. So, they auctioned off the meat instead.