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Endangered deer killed in Taitung County shooting

TAIPEI, Taiwan — As many as 13 endangered Formosan muntjacs, or known as Formosan barking deer, were found killed in the largest illegal animal-shooting case ever seen in the eastern county of Taitung in recent years, according to Taitung Police Station.

Police at the Dawu branch broke open the illegal hunting case after tracking a spate of shooting sounds from the Bilu mountainous area of the Jinfong Township of Taitung County.

Policemen said that the Bilu mountainous area was seriously damaged by Typhoon Morakot in early August of 2008, and the way leading to the area was repaired recently, causing hunters to rush to hunt the endangered Formosan barking deer and flying squirrels.

Wang Chi-fu, chief of an investigation team of the Dawu police branch, said they discovered five male and eight female Formosan barking deer, as well as four flying squirrel, killed during the illegal hunting, with five of the female deer close to giving birth.

Wang said one Formosan barking deer can sell for around NT$3,000, prompting indigenous people residing in Jinfong Township to kill the endangered animal to make money.

The hunters will be subject to fines for the illegal shootings, according to Wang.

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