- A Chinese streamer is reportedly under investigation for posting a controversial mukbang video.
- She is suspected of eating a great white shark, which she denies, according to local outlets.
- Great white sharks are classed as a “vulnerable” species in need of protection.
Local authorities in southwest China are investigating an influencer on suspicion of eating an endangered great white shark in a video, according to a report from the South China Morning Post.
The outlet reported that police in Nanchong, a city in China’s Sichuan province, opened an inquiry into a video posted on July 12 by a streamer known as Tizi, who has 7.8 million followers on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. The video reportedly showed the streamer eating a 50-kilogram, or about 110-pound, fish that some believed to be a shark and saying, “This is so yummy” in Mandarin.
The video no longer appears to be available to watch, but clips that other users on YouTube and Douyin have uploaded show the streamer lying down next to what appears to be a shark before cutting it up and placing it on a grill. She can then be seen repeatedly biting into a tail-like chunk of meat at the end of the clip.
SCMP reported that people who watched the original video became concerned that the animal in the clip looked like a great white shark, which is an endangered species, and called for local authorities to investigate the streamer.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists great white sharks as a “vulnerable” species in need of protection, and trading these sharks requires a permit. The unlawful trade of wildlife products is punishable by fines or prison terms in China, according to the nation’s wildlife protection laws.
On August 1, the Times of London reported that Tizi was still under investigation, and that Nanchong police had determined the animal in the video to be a great white shark. The outlet did not specify the source of this information. Local authorities did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for updates on their investigation.
SCMP reported that the streamer denied buying the animal unlawfully, and said in an interview with the Sichuan news app Red Star News, “I bought it legally, and I am looking for a lawyer. These people were talking nonsense.” Insider was unable to access the interview.
According to SCMP, Tizi was known for posting mukbang videos, where creators take part in extreme-eating challenges. The outlet reported that the streamer often ate rare and obscure foods on camera, such as crocodiles and ostriches.
Tizi’s account appears to have been deleted from Douyin, and SCMP reported that the influencer deleted all her previous videos after criticism against her became widespread among Chinese social-media users. Insider was unable to contact her for comment.
Influencers in China have faced backlash and punishment for filming mukbang videos involving endangered animals in the past. In May 2021, a food blogger from the Hainan province was detained for reportedly eating an endangered sea snail, according to China Central Television.
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