Six people have been arrested by police in northwest China for allegedly poaching 18 endangered sheep, it was announced on Friday.
Police in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region also seized body parts believed to be from the state-protected bharals (Himalayan blue sheep), according to a spokesperson with the regional forest police bureau.
It is alleged the suspects had shot and killed sheep in Helan Mountain Nature Reserve in January 2011, and were active again from January to February this year.
"In 2011, we received an anonymous tip-off and two photographs showing two people each carrying a sheep's carcass. However, we had insufficient supporting evidence to continue with the investigation at the time," said the spokesperson, adding that a breakthrough in March had helped them reopen the case this year.
Bharals live in the Himalayas, and can be found in Nepal, India, and the Tibet, Xinjiang and Ningxia regions in China.