Pangolin seized from Limpopo government official, two men arrested

Two men, one of whom is a department of agriculture and rural development department official, have been apprehended in possession of an animal listed as endangered species.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prohibits possession of a pangolin without having a permit under penalty of criminal prosecution.

45-year-old Zwiitwaho Maphiri and 30-year-old Vele Ravura were arrested last week by the Limpopo Endangered Species and Stock Theft Unit and a joint task team at the Hammanskraal turn-off near Pienaarsrivier.

“The department could not further comment, as the case was in the hands of the law enforcement agencies and the courts. The suspects appeared in the Bela-Bela court and bail was granted, as Maphiri was at work on Monday,” departmental spokesperson Moshupulogo Mushu confirmed the arrest.

The police team had seized the pangolin and transported the animal to the African Pangolin Working Group for rehabilitation and release.

The endangered pangolin has an estimated street value of between R2, 500 to R3, 255 to middlemen. They are often further sold for between R22, 500 to R37, 500. The scales of pangolin sell for between R9, 000 and R15, 000 per kilogram.

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