African Press Association

Graft threatens pangolins’ existence



LUSAKA – RISING demand for pangolins in Asia and a corrupt local justice system are threatening the existence of the animals in Africa.

Pangolins are slaughtered for their meat, scales and claws to use as food and traditional medicines, largely in China.

By the hundreds of thousands, they are the victims of rampant global illegal wildlife trade.

Malawi and Zambia are among the countries worst affected by this illegality.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is at the forefront of demands for perpetrators to be punished but feels let down by the wheels of justice turning slowly, allegedly because of corruption.

Mike Labuschagne, who runs anti-poaching, criminal investigations and intelligence gathering, said, “Court processes can be slow and are often interfered with by corrupt individuals.”

The sloth leaves IFAW with 18 outstanding cases against pangolin traders that date back to August in Malawi and Zambia.

This thwarts undercover investigations to arrest illegal wildlife traffickers and to rescue the defenseless creatures.

“Should we fail to effectively address this scourge of poaching and illegal trade, our entire pangolin population will be wiped out in the very near futures,” said Labuschagne.

– CAJ News