TIME China

Exposed: The World’s ‘Biggest’ Slaughter of an Endangered Species

Whale shark fins are dried and stacked for export. This processing plant processes over 600 whale sharks per year.Puqi, Zhejiang Province, China. Photo: WildLife Risk  (HAND OUT PHOTO ONLY, NO ARCHIVES )
Whale-shark fins are dried and stacked for export at a processing plant in Puqi, Zhejiang province, China Hilton/Hofford for WildLifeRisk

Scared of sharks? The feeling is mutual

Conservationists in Hong Kong have released photos of a massive shark slaughterhouse in Puqi, in the Chinese province of Zhejiang, calling it the “biggest” killing floor for whale sharks on the planet.

Investigators for WildLifeRisk spent two years staking out the factory, which was under the perfectly inscrutable front name: China Wenzhou Yueqing Marine Organisms Health Protection Foods Co. Ltd. The conservation group said that the factory “appears to be the world’s largest wholesale slaughter of an internationally protected endangered species.”

Inside the plant they found carcasses of endangered sharks skinned, de-finned and processed into oil. The group says the annual haul included protected species such as great whites and basking sharks as well as more than 600 endangered whale sharks — docile giants that can grow up to 40 ft. in length.

WildLifeRisk captured undercover footage of the killing floor for those with strong stomachs.

[South China Morning Post]

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