November 8th marked a first for Malawi’s Department of Parks and Wildlife, as they arrested two men in possession of a live pangolin. Maritinyo Alberto, 21, and Paulino Felish Njanja, 25, both from Mozambique, had decided to bring the pangolin to Malawi for sale, leaving a second behind to be brought across the border once the first one had sold.
Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal, with a firm place in the black market in Asia. They are poached for both their meat which is considered a delicacy and their keratin scales that are used for medicinal purposes. Native to Africa and Asia, all eight species of pangolin are now critically endangered with potentially as many as 2.7 million being killed every year in central Africa alone.
Fortunately, this pangolin was rescued alive and well. The two men appeared in court on the morning of November 10th for a formal remand to enable investigators to perform further examinations into the case. The men are currently facing four charges involving the illegal possession of a listed species, the illegal importation of a listed animal to Malawi, dealing with a listed species and illegal entry into Malawi. The Court adjourned the case to 23rd November 2017 for a full hearing and ordered that the Pangolin be relocated to habitable protected area in Malawi.
The operation was supported by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and International Fund for Animal Welfare. African Parks also helped to transport the animal to Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi, where the pangolin has now been released and will hopefully live out the rest of it’s days.
See two videos below, first one of its rescue, second its release.