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Over 5,000 wild animals found adrift on boat off southern China

BEIJING – More than 5,000 wild animals have been found abandoned and close to death on a broken-down fishing boat off the coast of southern China, state media reported Friday.

Authorities this week discovered more than 300 crates containing lizards, tortoises, turtles and pangolins on the 25-metre (82.5-foot) wooden boat, the Beijing Morning Post said.

The animals, which were barely alive after being exposed to the sun, were sent to a conservation centre in Guangdong province.

Maritime authorities also found 21 bear paws on the boat, the report said, with one photo published in the paper showing a limb from a bear that was crudely hacked off.

The boat’s power system had reportedly broken down, while there were nothing on board to identify its owners, the newspaper reported.

China has long been recognised as a key trouble spot in the worldwide illegal trade of wildlife, due to its rapidly growing economy and a taste for exotic animals.

Animal products are also used in traditional Chinese medicines.

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