Source AP ©

Chinese farmer to spend 12 years in jail for killing swan

Chinese farmer will spend 12 1/2 years in prison for killing and selling white swans. This endangered species of swans is protected by the government.

Zhao Naishun, 42, of Henan province, was accused of poisoning 37 white swans on the Yellow River last fall and selling them to another area farmer for 150 yuan (US$20, EUR 13.80) each, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency and Li Guowang, an official at People's Court of Lingbao.

Zhao, who was arrested in May, said he would not appeal the sentence handed down Friday, Xinhua reported.

The court also ordered him to pay a fine of 40,000 yuan (US$5,370, EUR 3,700).

The farmer accused of buying the swans, Zhang Yuelin, was sentenced in May to 13 years in prison after being convicted of buying the birds and selling the meat.

Protection of animals has not traditionally been a priority in China , but the government has stepped up enforcement of animal protection laws in recent years in an attempt to preserve rare animals such as pandas, tigers and some birds at risk of extinction.