BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Police in Blantyre are keeping in custody two Malawian men for being found in possession of a live Pangolin.
Joseph Douglas, 23, and Moffat Mathias, 25, were arrested after Blantyre Police received a tip from well wishers who saw the duo offering for sale the endangered wildlife species.
Following the tip, the CID personnel from Blantyre accompanied by officials from Wildlife and Parks department rushed to Machinjiri to investigate the matter.
According to Blantyre Police, the detectives disguised themselves as buyers who in the process of negotiating for the price, managed to apprehend the suspects and seize the pangolin.
Currently the pangolin is being taken care of by Veterinary assistants since it was found in bad health condition.
Upon recovery it shall be taken to the Wildlife park.
The two will appear before court to answer the charge of being found in possession of specimen of Listed Species Without License contrary to section 111b ( b ) of National Parks and Wildlife Act.
The shy, harmless pangolin is becoming increasingly well known for one reason: It’s believed to be the world’s most trafficked non-human mammal.
Tens of thousands of pangolins are poached every year, killed for their scales for use in traditional Chinese medicine and for their meat, a delicacy among some ultra-wealthy in China and Vietnam.
There are eight species of pangolins. Four are found in Asia- Chinese, Sunda, Indian, and Philippine pangolins—and they’re listed by the IUCN as critically endangered. The four African species—the ground pangolin, giant pangolin, white-bellied, and black-bellied—are listed as vulnerable.
All species face declining populations because of illegal trade.
In 2016, the 186 countries party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the treaty that regulates the international wildlife trade, voted to ban the commercial trade in pangolins.
Pangolins are afforded the highest level of protection in Malawi under wildlife legislation that was updated in 2019.
Perpetrators caught in possession of live pangolins or any of their derivatives face a prison sentence of up to 30 years.