‘Noah’s Ark’ of 5,000 rare animals found floating off the coast of China

Endangered, hunted, smuggled and now abandoned, 5,000 of the world’s rarest animals have been found drifting in a deserted boat near the coast of China. The pangolins, Asian giant turtles and lizards were crushed inside crates on a rickety wooden vessel that had lost engine power off Qingzhou island in the southern province of Guangdong. Most were alive, though the cargo also contained 21 bear paws wrapped in newspaper.

According to conservation groups, the haul was discovered on one of the world’s most lucrative and destructive smuggling routes: from the threatened jungles of south-east Asia to the restaurant tables of southern China.

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