25-08-2022 by Leni Frau
Wanting to sell a pangolin on the black market, three men from Kinango in the coastal county of Kwale were arrested by the criminal police. The endangered animal, a protected species, is a highly prized commodity and coveted by smugglers. In the Far East, a kilo of pangolin meat, considered a luxury food, can cost up to EUR 350 per kilo, while a whole animal, which can weigh up to 40 kilograms, can be worth as much as EUR 35,000.
It is the hard scales of the pangolin that are in great demand: traditional Indo-Chinese medicine considers them aphrodisiac and anti-ageing.
So even in Kenya these curious little animals are disappearing.
The three poachers, after capturing the specimen, were ready to transport it to Mombasa to resell it, but some citizens fortunately alerted the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), which tailed them. When the three, Pas Mwiti, Kabwere Tembe and Salim Nduria, were caught up, they released the pangolin, which witnesses said was the largest specimen ever seen in the area, and tried to escape.
"Two of the suspects attempted to free the animal and escaped. This prompted investigators to chase the fearsome mammal in a scale armour and the two men, leaving a thick cloud of dust behind. However, they eventually detained the duo and the mammal and took them all to Nairobi,' the DCI said on Tuesday.
The three are under arrest in Nairobi while the animal was handed over to Kenya Wildlife Service officials at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage.
(photo: Scott Judy Hurd)
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