Last week, you may have noticed the two funny pink and purple creatures featured in Google's interactive Valentine's Day game. Those cute, harmless animals are pangolins; they are endangered little anteater-type creatures that wander around slurping down insects with their long tongues.
They are also considered the world's most illegally trafficked animals, and a lot of people who really couldn't give a rat's ass whether they go extinct or not sure do love to eat them.
The poaching economy is particularly bad in China, where pangolins are sought for both cuisine and medicine. The State Forestry Administration, the agency in charge of protecting wildlife, is currently investigating a user on Weibo, the popular Chinese social media network, for posting photos of what appears to be a variety of pangolin dishes, the South China Morning Post reports. The user has been nicknamed the "Pangolin Princess" due to her proclivity for eating unusual and endangered species.
Those posts, dated some from as far bas as 2011, show images for food labelled "pangolin-blood fried rice," and a stew containing eight different animals, including "pangolin, snake, and swan."
In addition to photos of numerous dishes containing pangolin meat, she has also posted images of live owls and pangolins in cages, presumably before they are butchered and eaten. However, the images were subsequently taken down after they drew sharp criticism from other users online.
This month, the images received new attention and a probe from the State Forestry Administration following the discovery that certain Chinese officials had allegedly been served pangolin at a banquet in 2015.
In China, eating pangolin carries up to a ten-year jail sentence. Nonetheless, the illegal trade continues to flourish.
And just in case you're still not clear about how profoundly fucked this is, here's a picture of a baby pangolin riding on its mother's back:
I mean, come on.