Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Man jailed for eating rare tiger

 trio of endangered Indochinese tiger cubs,  San Diego Zoo (archive image)
Fewer than 1,800 Indochinese tigers are thought to be living in the wild

A Chinese man has been jailed for 12 years for killing and eating a rare Indochinese tiger.

Kang Wannian, a villager from the southern province of Yunnan, said he had encountered the tiger while out fishing, and killed it in self-defence.

The animal may have been China's only wild Indochinese tiger, which is on the brink of extinction.

Four other men were jailed for sharing the tiger meal and covering up the incident.

Endangered species

Kang was confronted by the tiger in February while gathering freshwater clams in a nature reserve near China's border with Laos.

He said he shot the animal after dark and claimed that, at the time, he did not know it was an endangered Indochinese tiger.

According to local media, Kang was sentenced to 10 years for killing a rare animal plus two years for illegal possession of firearms.

The court in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, also ordered him to pay a fine of 480,000 yuan ($70,000; £44,000).

Fewer than 1,800 Indochinese tigers are thought to be living in the wild, in the forests of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Burma.

The only known wild Indochinese tiger in China was photographed in 2007 at the same reserve that Kang visited.

The tiger has not been seen since Kang's meal, and there is speculation that Kang could have eaten the last one.

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