Three people were arrested in Brits on Friday, 11 September, after being found in possession of an endangered pangolin.
The three, aged between 22 and 35, were apprehended by the Brits police at 12:30 at the Alpha crossing after the police received a tip-off from a organisation combating the illegal wildlife trade.
According to police spokesperson, Maria Nkabinde, the police received information from the non-profit organisation that a pangolin sale was to take place at the crossing. “As a result, a multi-disciplinary team comprising of members of Jericho Stock Theft Unit, the Brits Trio Crimes Task Team, Crime Intelligence and officials from the nature conservation department acted swiftly and intercepted the trio in a white Volkswagen Jetta. The suspects were arrested after failing to account for possession of the pangolin. Investigation into the matter continues,” she said.
The pangolin was treated in a specialised animal clinic and will be monitored before being released in a suitable and safe environment.
The three suspects are expected to appear before the Brits Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 14 September 2020, for contravention of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (NEMBA) (Act No. 10 of 2004).
This follows a spate of arrests recently of people dealing in the endangered animal. Pangolin scales are sought after in Asian countries and can fetch up to $2 000 per kilogram.