Matobo woman arrested for possession of pangolin skin

A Matobo woman has approached the Bulawayo High Court seeking bail after she was arrested for possessing a pangolin skin worth ZWL$5000.

A Plumtree court, before remanding her in custody, heard Portia Maphosa (39) was apprehended by the two officials from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management (Zimparks) and a police officer who was on patrol.

State allegations are that the officers got information that Maphosa was at Chapo business centre allegedly waiting for a prospective buyer of the pangolin skin she had in her possession.

When the police questioned her, she failed to produce a permit authorising her to possess the trophy.

Maphosa is facing a charge of unlawful possession of a trophy of a protected animal.

Through her legal representative from Mabundu and Ndlovu law chambers, Maphosa cited in her bail application that she was arrested because of a breakdown in communication.

The lawyers stated that the officers who conducted the interrogation spoke to her in the Shona dialect which she is not conversant in.

“She is of simple mind with no erudition whatsoever. The arresting details communicated to her in the Shona dialect and she could not comprehend the gist of the interrogation,” stated the lawyer.

Her submissions further stated that Maphosa did not hunt the alleged animal but it was mauled to death by her dogs within the parameters of her homestead.

Maphosa said an awareness program which was conducted by professional hunters in collaboration with Zimparks officials and villagers in their area highlighted to them of the criminality of being found in possession of the skin.

“Villagers were advised to report within seven days if they happened to come into possession of a live pangolin or carcass as the animals are abundant in Matobo.”

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