The suspect was on his way to sell a pangolin valued at R150 000. Image: Hawlks

Pangolin smuggler NABBED

The 56-year-old man was on his way to Limpopo to sell a pangolin. Pangolin smuggling carried a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment


The suspect was on his way to sell a pangolin valued at R150 000. Image: Hawlks

An alleged pangolin smuggler was nabbed on his way to Limpopo where he was planning on selling a critically endangered pangolin.

The pangolin has a value of R150 000 on the black market. The animals are sold for the their animal parts or pangolin-derived products.

The HAWKS interception was conducted by several units and the Hoedspruit Farmwatch

According to a report on, Captain Matimba Maluleka, said that the suspect was caught In Gravelotte, near Tzaneen.

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“The team received a tip-off about a suspect who was allegedly on the way to sell a pangolin in Hoedspruit. Without any waste of time, the team followed up on the information, and a suspicious vehicle was spotted in Gravelotte,” said Maluleka.

The suspect failed to show a permit for the possession of the smuggled pangolin

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In 2022, two men aged 37 and 52, one of which was a police constable, were charged with the illegal smuggling of pangolin and the contravention of the National Environmental Management-Biodiversity Act (NEMBA)

Further to the report, at the time of the arrests, Gauteng spokesperson for the Hawks, Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu, said the two would be appearing in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

“Authorities followed up on intelligence received regarding an illegal trade of a pangolin in the Cleveland area, central Johannesburg,” reported Mulamu.

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Pangolins are the most smuggled animal in the world

“An intelligence-driven operation by the Hawks’ serious organised crime investigation in Germiston and Johannesburg, together with the Benoni K9, was conducted in Cyrildene where they intercepted and positively identified suspects’ car,” added Mulamu. They were reportedly on their way to meet a potential pangolin buyer.

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