A Chinese food blogger is under police investigation after she was filmed cooking and eating a great white shark, in a case that has raised concern over a black market for consuming a protected species.
The young woman known as Tizi, who has more than 7.8 million followers on Douyin, a Chinese streaming channel, is seen in the video collecting a two-metre shark at a seafood shop in the southwest city of Nanchong and unwrapping it. She then lies down next to the creature in front of a curious crowd to show the six-foot shark's size in comparison to her.
'Its Meat is Truly Super Tender'
"It may look vicious, but its meat is truly super tender," Tizi said in the video, initially posted last month. A watermark on the video says the shark was bred in captivity, but social media users questioned the claim as great whites usually only mate in the wild and take decades to reach sexual maturity.
In the video, Tizi slices the shark in half, boils its head in a spicy broth, and roasts its tail. She then shares the food with locals. Although Tizi claims the fish is a hooktooth shark, cops in Nanchong launched an investigation after determining that it is in fact a great white, which are considered endangered in China.
The video posted on both platforms on Tuesday has been removed, along with all her previous videos, after it triggered widespread criticism.
Tizi Facing 5 Years in Jail
Police in Nanchong are investigating, according to the city's agricultural and rural bureau. An official claimed the punishment could be more severe if the shark was a juvenile, as quoted in the Global Times.
Tizi faces up to five years in prison or criminal detention and a fine if found guilty of illegally purchasing rare and endangered wildlife products, Beijing lawyer Chang Yachun told the paper on Monday. But if she is convicted of crimes of a particularly serious nature, she could be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison and also faces fines or the confiscation of her property, the lawyer added.
Several people who allegedly acquired the shark from the eastern Chinese Fujian province have already been detained.
Crackdown on Black Market Trade of Endangered Animals
China is increasingly looking to crack down on the unlawful trade of animals for food and medicine in the wake of the Covid pandemic. However, a number of food bloggers in the country have turned to more and more extreme stunts to attract viewers.
Last year, a man from Hainan province was arrested after filming himself eating a giant triton, a protected sea snail. In 2019, Chinese vlogger Sun died after eating live poisonous centipedes and lizards during his stream for a sick challenge.
Meanwhile, a Chinese influencer achieved worldwide notoriety when she filmed herself eating "bat soup" after the mammal was linked to the Covid outbreak in Wuhan.