Two arrested over pangolin possession in Lilongwe

By Chisomo Phiri

Police in Kanengo, Lilongwe are keeping in custody two suspects for allegedly possessing a live pangolin

The two are Christina Chiunjiza and Blessings Tchale, both aged 42.

According to Kanengo Police Station Public Relations Officer Sub Inspector Gresham Ngwira, on Tuesday this week, police received a tip that the said suspects were suspiciously loitering around Spama in area 25 while discussing undisclosed type of business on the phone.

“After receiving the information, a team of officers comprising those from National Police Headquarters’ Wildlife and Environmental Crimes Investigation Unit and Kanengo CID officers followed the information which led to the arrest of the two,” said Ngwira.

He said Chiunjiza and Tchale were found with a live Pangolin wrapped in two maize sacks concealed in a black bag.

Meanwhile, the law enforcers seized the protected animal which had since been taken to Lilongwe Wildlife Centre for examination and safe keeping.

According to the National Geographic Channel, pangolin scales are made of keratin, the same material that makes up fingernails, hair, and horn.

Pangolin scales, like rhino horn, have no proven medicinal value, yet they are used in traditional Chinese medicine to help with ailments ranging from lactation difficulties to arthritis.

The scales typically dried and ground up into powder, which may be turned into a pill.