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Pangolin deal lands two in court

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Two people from the Midlands have been charged after they were caught trying to sell a pangolin at Antelope Park.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Idie Chitani (37) from Mkoba in Gweru and Ellias Towori (30) from Chirumanzu, appeared before Gweru magistrate Judith Taruvinga yesterday facing charges of possessing a specially protected animal in contravention of the Parks and Widlife Act.

Prosecutors said Chitani approached Towori of Greenvale plots in Chirumhanzu selling a pangolin.

However, an informant tipped a Parks and Wildlife Authority officer Lovemore Sikwiliti who found the endangered animal in a bucket.

pangolin.
Pangolins are vulnerable to poachers because their scales are believed to have healing powers.

The two were arrested on the scene and the pangolin was sent to Harare for treatment.

However, Chitani and Towori denied the charges and Taruvinga said she would rule on their bail application today. The pangolin is valued at $5 000.

Chitani and Towori face nine years in jail for the crime if convicted.

Last month, the Tikki Hywood Trust, a pangolin protection organisation, said police had arrested 12 poachers and eight of them had already been handed the maximum jail sentence after they were convicted.

The poachers were nabbed between January and March this year in Harare, Nyamapanda, Guruve and Kwekwe.

Pangolins are vulnerable to poachers because their scales are believed to have healing powers.

They have a ready market in Asia where their scales are used for treatment of fibroids and other ailments.

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