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Dentist who killed 1,000 endangered jaguars held

Sick trophy: A poacher carries a dead jaguar before the gang were rounded up by Brazilian police PICTURE: CEN

A DENTIST suspected of killing 1,000 protected jaguars since 1987 was among a gang of poachers arrested by police in Brazil on suspicion of hunting endangered animals.

Temistocles Barbosa Freire and six others, including a doctor, were held in the north-western state of Acre after a three-month operation.

An image came to light showing Freire carrying a dead jaguar on his back, surrounded by hunting dogs.

Another showed a poacher with a jaguar slung over his shoulders.

Freire and the gang are said to have hunted and killed thousands of animals including pig-like collared peccaries, red brocket deer and capybara — the world’s largest rodents.

The hunters are thought to have lured the animals to their deaths with the sound of a cuica, a high-pitched Brazilian friction drum. Police hacked their conversations and monitored their movements before closing in.

While under surveillance the gang killed eight jaguars, 13 capybaras, ten collared peccaries and two deer.

They could face prison sentences and fines if found guilty.

All international trade in the jaguar — the largest of Latin America’s big cats — is banned.