CHANGSHA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- A court in central China's Hunan Province jailed seven people on Monday for poisoning endangered birds and trafficking them for meat.
The People's Court of Yueyanglou District in Yueyang City sentenced one of the seven, only identified by his surname Fang, to 12 years in prison and fined him 10,000 yuan (1,535 U.S. dollars).
Two others, surnamed He and Zhong, were sentenced to 10 years in prison and each was fined 10,000 yuan.
The other four defendants got jail terms ranging from one to six years.
The gang illegally poisoned, purchased, transported and sold endangered birds, with their activity conducted in the wetlands of Eastern Dongting Lake Nature Reserve and surrounding regions.
Police began to investigate the gang after law enforcement officers with the reserve found a boat carrying many dead endangered water birds including cygnets, spot-billed ducks and herons on January 18, 2015.
They found that the gang bought pesticides to poison and kill more than 60 wild water birds under state protection in the reserve, selling them to a restaurant in Changde City between November 2014 and January 2015.