BY Tinashe Mungazi

A Dete man, who was found in possession of animal trophies which included lion skin, a python and raw ivory worth was this week jailed 27 years for poaching.

Never Ndlovu (46) of Mambanje Village, Dete, found himself on the wrong side of the law after his refusal to hand back a school bicycle attracted the attention of police officers who stumbled on a stash of various animal trophies with a combined value of $47 500.

He offered a partial plea when he appeared before Hwange Provincial magistrate, Portia Mhlanga facing five counts of unlawful possession of animal trophies.

He argued that he had picked the trophies from the Hwange National Park while herding cattle and intended to use them for medicinal purposes.

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“Your worship, I do admit to the charge that the items were found in my bedroom hut, however, I did not kill those animals to get the trophies. Instead, I picked up all these things in the national park while herding cattle after I learnt that animal remains can be used to cure different ailments,” Ndlovu said.

On November 9 last year, police officers were making a follow up on a bicycle belonging to Mambanje Primary School which Ndlovu, a former committee member, was refusing to surrender.

Upon arrival, Ndlovu’s mother, Georgina, welcomed them into the homestead before informing them that her son was not at home. She led them to Ndlovu’s grass thatched bedroom hut where they recovered the bicycle in question.

However, as the police officers were about to leave the room, one of them noticed a wild animal skin protruding from underneath Ndlovu’s bed and decided to investigate, whereupon he uncovered a female lion trophy.

Suspecting more surprises, the two officers conducted through searches of the room and homestead, leading to the recovery of 16 pangolin scales valued at $5 000, a 3,5-metre-long python skin valued at $1 500, a female lion skin, three lion paws, lion teeth and baboon skull worth $20 500. Police also found raw ivory weighing 0,4kg valued at $20 000 and five class three wire snares.

Upon being questioned on the ownership of the recovered animal trophies and wire snares, Georgina implicated his son.
Loveness Maseko appeared for the State.