Stolen endangered pangolin recovered by police

05 August 2018 - 11:02 By Ernest Mabuza
Following a tip-off from members of the community‚ the pangolin was found in the possession of two suspects at the Rustenburg taxi rank.
Following a tip-off from members of the community‚ the pangolin was found in the possession of two suspects at the Rustenburg taxi rank.
Image: Sunday Times

Police in North West have recovered a very rare male African pangolin that was allegedly stolen from the Rampampa Mountains‚ just outside Mabeeskraal in Mogwase.

The pangolin is a scaly ant-eating mammal which is one of the most trafficked animals in the world.

The reason is that its meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of Asia and its scales are used in traditional medicine to treat some ailments.

Police said the pangolin was allegedly stolen and brought to Rustenburg on Wednesday.

Following a tip-off from members of the community‚ the animal was found in the possession of two suspects at the Rustenburg taxi rank.

The suspects had the animal inside a plastic bag and were about to leave with it in a taxi when members of the Phokeng Stock Theft Unit pounced on them.

Police said preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects were about to sell the animal for R20‚000.

The animal was handed over for safekeeping to an animal expert‚ who is responsible for its transportation to the Hospital for Vulnerable Animals in Johannesburg.

Police said pangolins‚ whose whole bodies are covered in scales‚ are caught due to unfounded beliefs about the great medicinal value of their scales.

The two suspects‚ Surprise Moyani Nkomezulu‚ 25 and Tlhobogang Daniel Mantsho‚ 34‚ appeared in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

They were released on R2‚500 bail each and will appear in the same court again on August 31.

The cluster commander of Rustenburg‚ Major-General Arthur Adams‚ commended members of the Stock Theft Unit for their swift reaction that led to the rescue of the animal and apprehension of the two accused.

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