Zim poacher tried to sell pangolin on Facebook - conservation group

2015-05-15 12:49

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Harare - A poacher in Zimbabwe tried to sell an endangered pangolin on Facebook for $7 000, it emerged on Friday.

Donald Garayimareva, 23, set up the page in February this year to hawk the rare animal, according to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

Garayimareva is one of four men each handed a nine-year jail term for pangolin poaching in the northern town of Karoi this week.

The Tikki Hywood Trust, which is dedicated to the protection of the pangolin in Zimbabwe, said on Friday it welcomed news of the sentences.

"Zimbabwe is certainly leading the way in pangolin conservation," the Trust said in Facebook post.

Garayimareva and his accomplices were arrested in Karoi, but at least two of them are residents of Harare and its dormitory town of Chitungwiza, around 200km away.

A gift fit for royalty

In a separate case, a fifth man is also reported to have been handed a nine-year sentence on Tuesday in Kwekwe for trying to sell a pangolin at a bus rank in the town, which is in central Zimbabwe.

Also known as scaly anteaters, pangolins are protected animals in Zimbabwe. It is illegal to be in possession of one without a permit. However, the shy nocturnal animals are caught and trafficked for their scales, which are usually boiled off their bodies for use in traditional Asian and African medicines.

Since the beginning of the year, 26 people have been arrested in Zimbabwe for alleged pangolin poaching. Twelve of them have been handed nine-year jail sentences, according to the Tikki Hywood Trust.

The trust said on Friday that the authorities in Zimbabwe had "all worked so hard" to bring the poachers to justice.

Not so long ago, chiefs would present pangolins to President Robert Mugabe, deeming them a gift fit for royalty. One of Mugabe's birthday cakes was in the shape of a pangolin last year.

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

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