SAPS apprehend man in possession of pangolin

Posted on 14 June 2020

The South African Police Service (SAPS) apprehended a man in possession of a pangolin in Polokwane on Friday [12 June]. The 35-year-old was arrested by the police at Tom burke in the Lephalale Cluster.

In a statement, SAPS said the man was attempting to sell the live animal in the Swartwater area. After police received this information, the Endangered Species Unit of SAPS were activated and succeeded in apprehending the suspect and confiscating the pangolin. The suspect is expected to appear in Phalala magistrate court on Monday [15 June], facing a charge of possession of an endangered species.

Pangolins are hunted for their meat which is considered a delicacy in Vietnam and China, as well as for their scales which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

China recently announced that these mammals will be protected under Class 1 of the country’s wildlife protection laws. This is the highest level that animals can be protected under and the same level that panda bears fall under.

Following this, the country removed pangolins from their official list of Chinese Pharmacopoeia or traditional medicine list for 2020 for the first time in decades. Despite having no scientifically proven medicinal benefits, pangolin scales are used to ‘treat’ a number of ailments.

Keratin, the protein found in pangolin scales and rhino horn, is the same protein found in human fingernails.

Read: Pangolins removed from China’s traditional medicine list


Image credit: Twitter/ SAPoliceService

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