Two bust for smuggling endangered pangolin in plastic bag on taxi
An endangered male African pangolin has been found on a taxi‚ stuffed into a plastic bag by two men who were preparing to sell it for R20‚000.
The rare creature was stolen from the Rampampa Mountains‚ just outside Mabeeskraal‚ Mogwase in the North West.
Explaining how the creature - worth an estimated R400‚000 - was found and rescued‚ police spokesperson Captain Elsabé Augoustides said a community tip-off revealed that it had been stolen and brought to Rustenburg on August 1.
“The animal was found in possession of two accused at Rustenburg Taxi Rank‚” said Augoustides.
“The suspects had the petrified 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.
“The taxi was stopped and searched. During the search‚ the animal with an estimated valued of R400‚000 was found. Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects were about to sell the animal for R20‚000.
“The pangolin is regarded as one of the world’s most sought-after endangered species. It was handed over for safekeeping to an animal expert‚ who is responsible for its transportation to the hospital for vulnerable animals in Johannesburg‚” added Augoustides.
Pangolins‚ whose bodies are covered in scales‚ are often caught due to unfounded beliefs that their scales have significant medicinal value.
The two accused - Surprise Moyani Nkomezulu‚ 25‚ and Tlhobogang Daniel Mantsho‚ 34 - are out on bail of R2‚500 each. They will appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court on August 31.