Busted: how an apartment in China became the scene of the largest haul of leopard pelts since records began.

China’s State Forestry Administration raided an apartment in the West of China last month. The contents were shocking to say the least…

27 snow leopard pelts were seized – these are some of the most endangered cats, highlighting the volatile environment the snow leopard exists in. The illicit trafficking of pelts and furs has been the main reason for the animal’s decline. In harsh, politically unstable regions within the animal’s range, a single snow leopard pelt can mean a small fortune.

The fur trader identified as Mr Ma. Apparently bought the firs in Tibet, making a profit of £530. They arrested Mr Ma, after discovering the cache of pelts, along with 104 bear skins and parts of clouded leopards and lynx.

“Police found three snow leopard heads and two snow leopard skeletons in the raid,” Ge Yun, of the China-based nonprofit Xinjiang Conservation Fund (XCF), told National Geographic News.

National Geographic further reported that:

“The seizure is reportedly the largest haul of leopard pelts since Chinese officials began keeping records in 1949.
An official with China’s State Forest Administration, who identified himself as Mr. Li, confirmed the arrests in a telephone interview but declined to offer details.

“The snow leopard is endangered, and the government is working very hard to protect it,” he said.”

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