A Chinese woman dubbed the “Pangolin Princess” for her appetite for endangered animals was arrested and now faces 10 years in prison after she posted images of her meals online.
A Weibo user shared screenshots of posts from another user named “Zhanfangdeduoduo” in 2011 and 2012, showing a bowl of “Eight animal stew,” which included nationally-protected animals such as the pangolin, swan and snake cooked for five hours, according to Shanghaiist.
The woman, identified by authorities only as Lin, claimed the stew was so nourishing that her nose began to bleed.
Another dish in her photos was “Pangolin blood fried rice,” which she said was very “special.”
There’s also the “Caterpillar fungus and pangolin Soup,” which looks and sounds really unappetizing, but was described as “extremely delicious.”
In addition to the pictures of the food, Lin also decided to post photos of the animals when they were still alive and locked up in cages.
Police launched an investigation into the photos after they went viral on Chinese social media. The woman was later detained for questioning in Shenzhen.
“The forestry sub-branch of Shenzhen Police will harshly crack down against and investigate thoroughly any criminal and law-breaking behavior relating to wildlife,” the city’s Urban Management Bureau said in a post on its official social media account on Tuesday, according to the Telegraph.
Even though the scale-clad mammals are a second-class nationally-protected creature in China, these situations are not uncommon.
Authorities in Guangxi are currently investigating local officials who claimed they held banquets where they served pangolin meat courses to their VIP guests.
Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are hunted down in China for their armor and meat, which are believed to help cure cancer, asthma and other illnesses.
On the black market, these animals can be sold for up to 5,000 yuan ($729) per pound.
The pangolin population in China was estimated at 50,000 to 100,000 in 2003, and has declined by up to 94% since the 1960s, according to China Radio International.
Illegal shipments of pangolins and their scales are frequently confiscated from smugglers.
In 2015, customs officials at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai seized more than 548 pounds of pangolin scales hiding inside nine suitcases.
Catching, killing, buying or selling pangolins in China could land people in prison for more than 10 years with fines.