A Chinese man has been jailed for 13 years for buying and eating endangered tigers and making wine made out of their blood, state media reported.
The man, identified as a rich businessmen surnamed Xu, organised three trips to the southern province of Guangdong last year to buy the tigers, which he then transported to his home region of Guangxi, Xinhua news agency said late on Tuesday.
Xu and his accomplices witnessed the killing of three tigers in three deals with the sellers, one of which was killed by an electric shock, the report said.
Xu and his friends ate the tiger meat and he was reported to have said: “If anyone asks, say it is beef, horse or big cat meat”, Xinhua reported.
Xu was arrested after one of his deals was recorded by someone nearby who reported it to the police.
The report did not say where the tigers came from, only that they were suspected of being smuggled into the country.
Xu was originally sentenced in April and then appealed, but this week a court rejected that appeal, Xinhua said.
Tiger meat is believed by some Chinese to have health-giving properties and to work as an aphrodisiac, which has driven a booming trade in tiger products in recent years as the country has become wealthier.
China is home to tigers, mainly in the remote northeast, but their numbers have shrunk drastically due to poaching and habitat loss despite government conservation efforts.
The South China tiger, one of the world’s smallest subspecies and the only one native to central and southern China, is feared to be extinct in the wild.