Andile Tshuma, Court Reporter
THREE men have been arrested for possessing a pangolin skin.
Josias Nyoni (34) of Madumabisa in Hwange, Pikisani Ncube (39) and Edward Mhondiwa, (46) both of Entumbane suburb, appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Stephen Ndhlovu charged with possession of a trophy of a specially protected animal.
They pleaded guilty to contravening a section of the Parks and Wildlife Act and were remanded in custody to Monday for sentence.
In defence, Nyoni told the magistrate that he found the pangolin dead and skinned it with the intention of handing the skin over to a museum.
“Your Worship, I was just walking in the bush and I came across a dead pangolin. I know it’s a valuable animal, so I decided to skin it and I wanted to take it to the museum in Bulawayo,” said Nyoni.
Prosecuting, Mr Brian Nkala said police found the trio with the trophy on Tuesday.
“On March 15, 2017 at around 11am, detectives from the Minerals and Border Control Unit received information to the effect that the accused persons were in possession of a pangolin skin in Entumbane suburb, Bulawayo,” said the prosecutor.
The court heard that the detectives approached the three men and pretended to be potential buyers. During negotiations, Nyoni produced the skin. The detectives then identified themselves and arrested the trio.
The pangolin skin, whose value was pegged at $5 000, was exhibited in court as evidence.