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September 25, 2017

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Wildlife advocate accused of selling endangered tiger

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A former wildlife conservation panel member and adviser to the Council of Agriculture (COA) was yesterday accused of attempting to profit from illegal sales of the endangered Bengal Tiger, according to the Apple Daily.

Huang Kuo-nan, known in Tainan as the "Snake King" for his reputation with wildlife, is suspected of colluding with Chiayi restaurant operator Lin Chin-hsiu, who was accused on Sunday of serving bear paw as a delicacy at his establishment.

Huang has flatly denied the accusation, claiming a case of media fabrication.

However, an investigation by Apple Daily that was intended to uncover Lin's abuse of protected bears showed otherwise. The reporters, who posed as prospective customers to Lin, inadvertently stumbled upon Huang's allegedly illegal activities when the Snake King displayed for them his live Bengal Tigers.

Huang reportedly priced a tiger at NT$550,000, adding "a dead tiger is more valuable than a live one." The Apple Daily reports that Huang's farm consists of 7,000 snakes, three Bengal Tigers, three Malay sun bears and one lion.

The reports shocked the public and the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) as Huang was at one point, an advisor to the COA regarding wildlife conservation.

Meanwhile, Lin, operator of the Quanyuan Villa and restaurant in Chiayi's Meishan Village, was caught on film boasting about his NT$20,000-per-table bear paw banquet, adding that the feast generally requires a two-month waiting list.

Lin and his son can be seen giving a detailed description of how to prepare bear paw on Lin has denied the accusations and all restaurant operations have been suspended pending full investigation. According to the Wildlife Conservation Law, hunters of protected animals face prison terms ranging from six months to five years and fines of over NT$200,000.

People engaged in transactions of protected species can be sentenced to between six months and five years plus fines between NT$300,000 and NT$1.5 million.


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