Zim men in court for trying to sell live anteater

2015-12-08 21:59
A pangolin, curls into a ball as a Natural Resources Conservation Agency  official holds it up before releasing it into the wild at a conservation forest in Sibolangit, North Sumatra, Indonesia. (Jefri Tarigan, AP/File)

A pangolin, curls into a ball as a Natural Resources Conservation Agency official holds it up before releasing it into the wild at a conservation forest in Sibolangit, North Sumatra, Indonesia. (Jefri Tarigan, AP/File)

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Zimbabwe - Three men will appear in court in Zimbabwe's resort town of Victoria Falls next week on charges of trying to sell a live scaly anteater, state media reported on Tuesday.

Pangolins, as they are also known, are endangered animals. 

Poachers know that they fetch high prices for their body parts, especially their scales, which are used in traditional medicine in Asia and Africa.

The three were arrested after detectives based in the resort town received a tip-off, the official Chronicle newspaper reported.

They have been identified as Francis Phiri, 35, Sweeter Muzamba, 28, and Jabulani Nyathi, 41.

The three were nabbed in a sting operation near Victoria Falls Airport on October 27, with officers posing as prospective buyers, according to the report.

Detectives asked the accused for water for their car radiator, and found the pangolin in a box in the back of the men's car.

Two of the men sped off in the car and were only arrested later. The men claimed they were on their way to hand the animal over to the national wildlife authority, the Chronicle reported.

They are due in court on December 15. Pangolin poaching carries a sentence of up to nine years.

The pangolin was recovered in a high-density suburb of the town.

In the past, pangolins would often be given to President Robert Mugabe because they were considered to be a gift fit for royalty. This no longer happens.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  crime  |  southern africa  |  animals

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