A 39-year-old man has been arrested for reportedly killing around 1,000 protected birds that he planned to cook in hotpots.

The man was identified only as Wu, captured carrying two large bags filled with dead birds in the Chinese province of Zhejiang on November 7, Yahoo reported.

Wu was apprehended after authorities received a tip about illegal hunting activities at a mountain near Pingyang County in Wenzhou City, SCMP reported.

When he was arrested, cops found Wu in the possession of sound recorders, something he allegedly used to lure birds into his makeshift trap.

The 39-year-old would then bring the police to the place where he captured the protected birds. Authorities discovered more dead birds at the scene, something that Wu allegedly abandoned since he was only interested in taking live birds for consumption.

Among the birds that Wu captured include 948 sparrows and 13 babbling thrushes. The 39-year-old reportedly killed the birds with his bare hands, breaking their necks before cooking them in a hotpot.

Sparrows are categorized as protected animals in China and are considered important economic and scientific research value. They were nearly eradicated after Mao Zedong ordered the extermination of sparrows in the late 1950s to the early 1960s.

The same holds for babbling thrushes. They are considered a species of concern by the international community due to habitat loss.

The local Wildlife Protection Law discourages the illegal hunting of birds. For apprehended people such as Wu, offenders could face up to three years in jail for killing sparrows. Also, those caught killing babbling thrushes could face five to 10 years behind bars for killing these species.

“Wild animals live in a rather dirty, complex environment with plenty of pathogenic bacteria. So they harbor many germs,” the statement read. “Eating wild animals will increase the risks of transmission of bacteria, viruses and parasites to humans. It is estimated there are at least 250 zoonotic diseases caused by pathogens,” the Shanghai Forestry Bureau said in a statement.

birds flying birds flying [Photo by YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash] Photo by YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash