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Panda Killer Gets Life In Prison

A peasant who shot and killed a panda, then tried to sell its pelt has been sentenced to life in prison, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

Zhang Guangming killed the purple-colored panda in north central Shaanxi province’s Taibai County on Dec. 6, 1993, Xinhua said. He skinned the animal the next day.

The Intermediate People’s Court also sentenced three accomplices to prison. They were arrested after police caught one, Zhu Zhiwen, trying to sell the skin in March 1994, Xinhua said.

Despite expensive captive breeding programs and a crackdown on poaching, only about 1,000 pandas remain in the wild, mostly in the bamboo forests in the mountains of west and southwestern China.

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