Five men were sentenced to prison for their role in the sale of four legs of lion meat in a wet market in Zhejiang.
The prison sentences range from eight months to five years, according to Global Times.
The culprits were also fined between RMB10,000-80,000 for “endangering precious and endangered wild animals.”
The African lion was bred in a circus in Anhui Province before it suffered breathing difficulties and died in January.
The circus manager, surnamed Li, was supposed to report the lion’s passing to the local forestry administration. Instead, he stole the body and found a buyer, with the assistance of his friend, surnamed Ma.
Li and Ma sold the body to two other individuals, surnamed Li and Yin, for RMB16,000. Li and Yin then sold the four lion legs to a trader named Zheng at a local wet market in Wenling.
Zheng was caught by authorities after selling one leg.
The two buyers of the four lion legs are currently undergoing court proceedings.
After the initial COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020, the Chinese government banned the consumption and farming of wild animals.
Chinese law also prohibits the trading or eating of bred rare or domesticated and endangered wild animals.
READ MORE: China Bans All Wild Animal Consumption
[Cover image via Pixabay]