By Farai Kuvirimirwa
A Harare man yesterday fiercely argued with police in Mabelreign demanding back a pangolin he had picked with his friends while on his way from a traditional healer in Mutoko, saying he felt strongly that it represented the good luck predicted by the healer.
Tatenda Gunguwo of Mabelreign had to leave the police station after a Parks and Wildlife official read to him a section of the Parks and Wildlife Act which stipulates that the animal falls under protected species.
Gunguwo returned to the police station after he had initially left in the company of his friends, one of whom was identified as Vincent Chendambuya. This was after the police advised them that the pangolin would be surrendered to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
He argued that the animal belonged to him and he wanted to take it in person to President Mugabe.
“The traditional healer told me that things were going to be well for me in Harare and on our way back, I found the pangolin and thought that was the turning point in my life. I heard that you can take it to President Mugabe or there is a huge amount of money that I can be given since I am the one who picked the animal.
“My friends surrendered the animal behind my back and they gave me beer so that they would take advantage of that. I am not going anywhere without the animal,” he said.
But Parks’ senior extension interpretation officer Mr Timothy Kuguyo produced the Parks and Wildlife Act and read from section 20:14 which mentions that pangolins are protected species. Gunguwo then said he had understood the law, but insisted he wanted to be informed of what would happen to the animal.
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations manager Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the pangolin would be examined before being released into the natural habitat.
“We cannot tell if it is a male or female because it is still coiled up, but it is a semi-adult weighing more than 10 kilogrammes,” she said.
“It also has a wound on it and that shows the kind of abuse it was subjected to. After gaining confidence, it will uncoil itself and we would see if it is a male or female.”
Ms Washaya-Moyo said the pangolin would be administered with anti-biotics in the next seven days so that it recuperates before being released.
Gunguwo and his friends captured the animal on Friday during sunset near Mutoko Centre and kept it at their Mabelreign residence before Chendambuya and another friend gave beer to Gunguwo so that he would not know their intention of surrendering the animal to the police. Herald