The four, Zhang Hong Yuan, Chen Caijan, Lin Guibin and Shi Jiahau resided at Chiwara Homestead located near Gambakwe Village in Bikita. They had procured Bell Hinged Tortoises from the local community for personal consumption.
The Bells Hinged Tortoise is listed under CITES Appendix II and its numbers in the wild have dwindled significantly over recent years.
At the end of last year, 13 live toroises and the skeletal remains of another 40 were recovered from the residence of the Chinese in a raid carried out by National Parks and the Save Valley Conservancy Anti-Poaching Unit.
The toroises had been stored in two empty 200 litre steel drums with no provision for food or water. Stagnant water and fecal matter were evident as was overcrowding. Members of the community stated that the tortoises were dropped into boiling water whilst still alive in order to separate the shell from the meat.
Charges of cruelty were laid against the Chinese nationals who were arrested and fined. Further investigations revealed that the accused nationals had been employed without relevant immigration documentation and they have now been detained in a state security prison pending deportation.Post published in: Environment