Two Zimbabwean men have appeared at a Francistown Magistrates’ Court in Botswana facing charges of illegal possession of a pangolin and entering that country irregularly.
Kelvin Maposa (43) and Matitshidza Sibanda (33), from Plumtree, were arraigned before the court last week.
They were remanded in custody to today.
According to media reports in Botswana, pangolins are classified under the protected game animals and one needs a licence to possess the wild animal.
The State led by prosecutor Mothusi Meshack alleged that the offence was committed on July 23 in Francistown.
Indications are that Maposa and Sibanda have since pleaded guilty to the offence, while the State awaits a certificate from the laboratory to confirm if the animal was, indeed, a pangolin.
In the second count, which they have also pleaded guilty to, the State alleges that the accused entered Botswana through an illegal entry point.
It is alleged that on July 19 this year, at or near Maitengwe village, Maposa and Sibanda illegally entered Botswana.
The two Zimbabweans were arrested following a tip-off by a member of the public.
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, pangolins are the most trafficked mammals in the world due to high demand for their scales and claws which are used in traditional medicine.
Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in some Asian and African countries.
In traditional medicine, pangolin scales are believed to improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, stimulate lactation and relieve skin diseases, even though there is no scientific evidence to prove that.