Sheillah Mapani Herald Reporter
Four people were arrested recently in Harare for attempting to sell a pangolin in contravention of the law on trade in endangered species.
A pangolin is defined as a “toothless mammal of southern Africa and Asia having a body covered with horny scales and a long snout for feeding on ants and termites”.
The four suspects — Maxwell Landirani (41), a soldier, Leon Tsiga (26), a police officer and Kudakwashe Nyoni (28), a nurse, reportedly gave Tafadzwa Murengwa (24) a live pangolin to sell at Chisipite shopping centre in the capital.
All four appeared in court yesterday before Harare magistrate Mrs Nomsa Sabarauta facing charges of contravening Section 45 of the Parks and Wildlife Act (Chapter 20:14).
They were remanded in custody to September 9. Prosecuting, Mrs Fransisca Mukumbiri alleged that last Sunday, detectives from the Minerals and Border Control Unit (Harare) received information to the effect that there were people selling a live pangolin at Chisipite shopping centre.
It is alleged that they got a tip-off from a person who was with Murengwa in his car. The court heard that the detectives made a follow-up and pounced on Murengwa, who they found with a live pangolin in a brown satchel.
He was immediately arrested for the illegal possession of a pangolin. Murengwa later implicated the other three whom he alleged were the owners of the pangolin.
The three, who were also close to the shopping centre, were subsequently arrested.
The pangolin, with a value of $5 000, was taken to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, which is responsible for conserving the country’s wildlife.