Chinese police have arrested eight suspects for allegedly killing 10 rare Chinese sturgeons and selling them for meat, police sources said Tuesday.
Chen Jianhua and Kang Jianguo, both residents of Yichang city, allegedly hunted 10 Chinese sturgeons between 2006 and 2008 in the Yichang section of the Yangtze River, the sources with the Yichang bureau of the Yangtze River maritime police.
A third suspect, Jin Hui, sold the sturgeons to a fish dealer Xu Youxin from Jingzhou city, who then distributed the poached meat through suspects including Yu Long, Pang Ying, Li Jincheng and Gong Zujia, the sources said.
Chen, Kang and Jin are all natives of Yichang City of central China's Hubei Province. They were arrested in October.
Xu Youxin, surrendered himself to the police on Nov. 18.
The police found the clue when a dead sturgeon, weighing 300 kg and 3.5 m long, was discovered in Yichang on Oct. 20 by a fisherman. It was trapped by a 21 m fishing net and had suffered multiple injuries.
The police spent two months breaking the ring.
The Chinese sturgeon, one of the oldest vertebrates in the world, has existed for about 140 million years. The endangered species are classified as protected animals in China. Fewer than 300 wild sturgeons are reported to live in the Yangtze River.
Rapid economic development, over-exploitation of the river, pollution and illegal hunting have driven the species to the verge of extinction. Many are killed by ship propellers, or mortally injured after becoming tangled in fishermen's nets.