Thugs Skin Tiger in China Zoo
Carcass of beheaded female discovered outside cage
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 23, 2007 7:45 AM CST
A Siberian tiger. (AP PHOTO/CP, Jordan Verlage)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Officials are searching for the thugs who skinned and beheaded a rare Siberian tiger at a zoo in central China. The female carcass—missing its head, legs and skin—was found outside its pen in Yichang City in Hubei province. Four homemade anesthetic rifles lay nearby. "It is highly possible that the killers anesthetized the tiger, opened the cage and then dragged the animal out and butchered it," said one official.

Tiger parts are used in Chinese medicine and skins are sold on the black market. There are believed to be only 400-530 of the animals in the wild, most of them in northeast China and the far east of Russia. China has established breeding operations to help protect the animals.