China seizes record number of Himalayan snow leopard furs

Chinese police seized a record 27 snow leopard furs in a raid on the home of a suspected illegal fur trader in far western China, state media said Monday.

Acting on a tip, police raided the apartment of a man in Gansu province's Linxia city on July 28 and discovered the furs of 104 bears, snow leopards, clouded leopards and lynxes, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The collection of snow leopard furs was the largest seized since authorities began keeping records in 1949, it said.

Furs of the animal, which are gray-white with black spots, can sell for more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,200; EUR 1,000), a small fortune for people living in remote rural areas.

The snow leopard lives in mountain regions across central and southern Asia, including western areas of China. The number surviving in the wild is estimated at between 3,500 and 7,000, and the animal is listed as an endangered species.

The man, identified only by his surname Ma, told police he began buying furs in Tibet and the northwestern province of Qinghai in November last year, Xinhua said.

Ma said he had made a profit of 4,000 yuan (US$530; EUR 380) from the sale of two snow leopard furs, the agency reported.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova