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Thursday, 14 September 2017 | MYT 6:23 PM

Chinese man puts crocodile meant for the pot in communal fish pond

Residents in southwestern China were given quite the scare when they discovered a metre-long crocodile lurking in their compound’s fish pond, state media reported.

It had apparently been moved there on Tuesday by a man living in the Huafu Shahe compound in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.

The resident intended to eat it later in the evening with his friend, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

He removed the animal about lunchtime after the compound’s managers spoke to him about his choice of storage area.

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The man is not thought to have broken any laws by eating the crocodile and commercial breeding is allowed in China.

The creature was a Siamese crocodile – among the world’s most endangered reptiles – was about two years old and likely weighed between 10 and 15kg, according to local crocodile breeder Xu Furong.

Xu was quoted as saying that the crocodile, with its hugely powerful jaws and tail, should not have been left in a public place, as it could “potentially cause injury to people”.

A worker from Chengdu’s forestry and landscape management bureau was quoted as saying that Siamese crocodiles were allowed to be bred for commercial purposes, as long as they were not sourced illegally. He also acknowledged that there were safety risks if the animals were kept in public places.

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Siamese crocodiles are a protected species, but there is considerable demand for them in China where they are considered a delicacy and their skins are used to produce luxury handbags and other leather goods.

Almost 85 per cent of global crocodile exports go to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to a report by the BBC last year.

Also last year, border police in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China seized 399 Siamese crocodile hatchlings that were thought to have been trafficked from Vietnam.

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