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Chinese forest police hunt men who posed with bodies of protected birds

The forest police of a central Chinese city are hunting for four men who posed in photos with dead endangered birds that were allegedly hunted and killed by them, the Beijing Times reports.

The photos showed the four men posing beside seven dead birds that are on the endangered list, smiling broadly as they hold the bodies.

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The verified Weibo account of China’s State Forestry Administration responded after the photos went viral online, saying they informed the Forest Public Safety Bureau of the issue and were collecting clues from Weibo users about the identities of the four.

The birds in the photos seem to include some of China’s protected species, including the night heron, pond heron and common moorhen.

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The common moorhen is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2012), the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.

The Hengyang City Forest Police in Hunan said they had determined the identities of the suspects and launched a hunt for the men on Sunday.