Chinese vendors are still secretly selling live wild animals including snakes, deer, rodents, weasels, badgers, and pheasants even after the trade was banned due to coronavirus outbreak.
Experts believe that the killer virus, which has taken the lives of at least 360 people and infected thousands worldwide, has been transmitted to humans by wildlife sold as food, especially snakes and bats.
However, investigations revealed that some stalls in Hubei Province, where the virus originated, are still secretly operating.
China banned the trade as the country struggles to contain the deadly virus, which is believed to have originated a wet market in Wuhan.
But an undercover investigation discovered that a market in Guangdong was secretly selling forbidden animals. More than 400 people have been stricken by coronavirus in that province.
Southern Metropolis Daily reported that one seller was eager to offer bamboo rats and wild snakes to the reporter who disguised as a buyer.
The seller charged 160 yuan per kilo for bamboo rats and 300 yuan per kilo for wild snakes.
Two sellers aged 26 and 56 were arrested an hour after the article was published, according to a follow-up report by Southern Metropolis Daily.
Investigators also found an underground store in Xianning where Chinese ferret-badgers and live barking deer were being sold after more than 55 million people in the province had to be quarantined due to the infection.
The mastermind of the illegal business was arrested. Authorities confiscated nine sheets of deer skin, one live barking deer, one dead barking deer, one piece of weasel skin and one live Chinese ferret-badger, according to Cover News.
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