By Rhishja Cota-Larson
A pangolin trafficker identified as Mr. Danisa Mloyi was prosecuted to the full extent of the law in Zimbabwe, receiving an unprecedented nine-year prison term.
Mloyi was sentenced under Chapter 20:14 Parks and Wildlife Act of Zimbabwe, Section 45 and Section 128 on October 14, 2013 — thanks to Magistrate Mr. C. Chiruma, Public Prosecutor Mr. M. Mhene, and the Gokwe ZRP.
“Zimbabwe, together with other African countries, has seen an alarming increase in the pangolin poaching,” says Lisa Hywood, founder of Tikki Hywood Trust in Zimbabwe and Co-chair of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group. Tikki Hywood Trust has seen the number of pangolins recovered from the illegal trade go from zero in 2009 to 18 as of October 2012, and is one of the few organizations to successfully rehabilitate and return confiscated pangolins to the wild.
Globally, an estimated 100,000 pangolins have been victims of the illegal trade since 2011. The majority of pangolins are destined for China, where they are eaten as a “delicacy”. Pangolin scales are used in Chinese folk medicines, although the scales are comprised of keratin — the same as our fingernails and toenails.