Thousands of crocodiles rescued from smugglers in China
updated 2:32 AM EDT, Mon July 9, 2012
Farmed Siamese crocodiles shown at the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo near Bangkok, Thailand.
- Chinese police intercepted more than 3,600 crocodiles near China-Vietnam border
- It is believed the animals were headed to restaurants in nearby Guangdong province
- The Siamese crocodiles are near extinction in the wild, though they are bred in captivity
- Southern China provinces made up nearly 70% of all Chinese animal trafficking last year
Hong Kong (CNN) -- Chinese police intercepted more than 3,600 crocodiles last week that were destined for dinner plates in the country's Guangdong province.
The Siamese crocodiles were seized Tuesday in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region after they crossed over the China-Vietnam border, according to reports in the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency.
Officials believe they were headed for restaurants in southern China -- known for its exotic dining options.
Several of the crocodiles died from heatstroke during transportation, officials said, while the others are being treated by veterinarians.
The Siamese crocodile, which can grow as long as 13 feet (3.96 meters) is one of the world's most endangered reptiles, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Hunting and habitat disruption has led the species to near extinction in the wild but they are extensively farmed in Thailand and Cambodia.
Zheng Yuanying of the Green Eye of China environmental protection group told Britain's The Guardian that a strong black market has persisted in the region despite government efforts to crack down on exotic animal smuggling.
"Although people all know it is illegal to eat these wild creatures, they will still eat them as long as the market sells them. What's needed is a long-term, stronger campaign to explain to people why they shouldn't eat crocodile," he said.
Earlier this month, China met with other Asian countries to enhance collaboration between countries to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, according to a report by TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network.
The provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guangdong in southern China accounted for 68.3% of the national trafficking total in 2011, according to the report.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.