Two men in China have been arrested for hunting an endangered species after photographs of them stringing up an enormous whale shark started circulating on the Internet this week.
According to Shanghaiist, the whale shark was photographed hanging over an offshore oil site in the South China Sea this week, and two men reportedly have been arrested for hunting and killing it to sell off the meat. Whale sharks are an endangered species, and selling their meat for profit is illegal in China.
Authorities have charged the men, who reportedly butchered the whale shark and sold its meat for 5 yuan per kilogram, or about 35 cents per pound.
The men are asserting that they didn’t actually kill the shark at all. They allege that the whale shark was already dead and starting to decay when they found it, and they just cut up the carcass and sold the meat. Shanghaiist points out that the men’s story seem questionable, especially considering that the shark was photographed alive and well and swimming around the area just days before it wound up on the plate.