Police in Chipinge recently arrested four individuals allegedly involved in illegally transporting and possessing an endangered pangolin. Officials received a tip that a silver Honda Fit vehicle was illegally carrying a live pangolin from Southdowns towards Chipinge town.

Acting on this information, authorities set up a roadblock near Mahiri Turn-off to intercept the suspects. When police approached the stopped Honda Fit, they identified themselves and inspected the vehicle. During their search, officials discovered a live pangolin hidden under the rear seat.

The four occupants of the vehicle, identified as Isaac Jenya, Blessing Mlambo, Daniel Jokonya and Patience Mhlanga, were unable to produce any permits authorizing them to possess the pangolin. They were subsequently arrested and charged with contravening Zimbabwe’s wildlife laws.

The confiscated pangolin weighed 6.95 kilograms and was valued at $5,000. It was taken into custody by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority at ZIMPOST Chipinge. The four accused individuals were remanded in custody until their next court appearance on May 22.

If convicted, the suspects face potential fines and jail time for illegally transporting and possessing the endangered pangolin. Their arrest hopefully prevents the animal from entering the black market trade for bushmeat and traditional medicine ingredients that threatens to drive pangolins to extinction. Strict enforcement of Zimbabwe’s wildlife laws and strong punishments could help deter other would-be wildlife criminals from targeting the country’s precious natural heritage.