The fight to save Zimbabwe’s endangered Anteaters 

Pangolines or Anteaters are the most trafficked mammals in the world, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. Source: The fight to save Zimbabwe’s endangered Anteaters – TRT Afrika Conservationists say all species of Pangolins are under threat, Photo: WWF By Charles Mgbolu Seven Zimbabwean men were recently arrested by police after being found in possession […]

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Pangolines or Anteaters are the most trafficked mammals in the world, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Source: The fight to save Zimbabwe’s endangered Anteaters – TRT Afrika

Conservationists say all species of Pangolins are under threat, Photo: WWF

By Charles Mgbolu

Seven Zimbabwean men were recently arrested by police after being found in possession of a pangolin, which is an endangered animal species.

The suspects face charges of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act, which is punishable by up to nine years if convicted.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said on Saturday that detectives posed as potential buyers of the pangolin before arresting the suspects.

“On 14 June 2024, detectives from Minerals, Flora and Fauna Unit in Murewa acted on received information and arrested Claud Matambo (22), Richard Dangarembwa (42), Tashinga Kwembeya (33), Tawanda Chitute (49), Milton Mcheka (30), Trovolta Hilary Tawanda Dzingai (38) and Munashe Chisasa (35)’’, police said.

Zimbabwe has repeatedly rescued stolen Pangolins.  Photo: WWF

All pangolin species, also known as anteaters, are protected under national and international laws, and are threatened with extinction, as assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with three classified as critically endangered.

Pangolines are the most trafficked mammals in the world, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Over the past decade, over a million pangolins have been taken from the wild to feed consumer demand for meat, scales, and other body parts.

Pangolin scales are made of same human nail material.  Photo: WWF

Their meat is considered a delicacy, while their scales, which, like human fingernails, are made of keratin, are used in traditional medicines as they are believed to treat a range of ailments.

A startled pangolin will cover its head with its front legs, exposing its scales to any potential predator. If touched or grabbed it will roll up completely into a protective ball.

While their scales are a potent defence against predators, it is useless against poachers, and all species in Asia and Africa are now under threat.

In 2020 alone, at least 82 people were arrested for illegal possession of the species in Zimbabwe. They also recovered 17 pangolins and over 1,000 kilogrammes of pangolin scales.

During the same period, the ZRP handled 40 such cases and of the 82 arrests, 12 of them were convicted and sentenced to an effective nine years each for possession of pangolins.

 

The post The fight to save Zimbabwe’s endangered Anteaters  appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.