Xujiahui is a historic and iconic part of Shanghai’s Xuhui district, brimming with tourists and locals alike with its many shops. Outside of this commercial hub, on the location of a former brick factory, Xujiahui Park now stands, having been built over 15 years ago. The park has become a place for sports, performances and a simple appreciation of nature in the center of China’s most popular city. In its man-made brook, animals swim without care, including the park’s prized animals: 5 rare black swans.
But in the end days of April, according to Radio and Television Shanghai, local residents had noticed one of the five beautiful animals had gone missing. The park’s surveillance tapes of that week were quickly investigated and pretty soon it became clear what had happened. On a Thursday morning, only a little over one hour past midnight, two men were seen sneaking into the closed park with a large net and emerging with one of the precious swans. Thankfully, the footage made an arrest possible.
The men were identified only as two delivery men who came to the park to poach fish from its waters but got spooked by security patrols. Instead, they grabbed one of the swans, a protected species. The men stated that the animal was already dead by their destructive behavior before they got home. There they cooked the bird with some vegetables, only to throw more than half of the animal away because of the ‘bad taste’ the swan generated.
Since then, the police have arrested the men for ‘Hunting and killing a protected species’ and are awaiting sentencing. The entire incident goes to show that in China, even in a city proclaiming itself as cultured and civilized as Shanghai, most animals are simply walking meals and up for grabs.