Local media report that four people were arrested after they were caught with 1,200 donkey hides in Botswana, unravelling an export syndicate linked to China, where the hide is valued for purported medicinal purposes.

The African News Agency reported Monday that three Zimbabweans and a Chinese man were detained for the illegal slaughter, possession and export of the skins after police raided a warehouse in the southern town of Molepolole. They told police they worked for a Chinese export company based in neighboring Zimbabwe.

Botswana police told reporters that that hides are very valuable in China.

The China Daily newspaper reported that China's donkey population has dwindled due to commercial use of the animal. Donkey hide contains a gelatin valued for supposed anti-aging blood circulation properties.