Black market boom fear in pangolin link
groups, there are videos of girls, it’s such exploitation.”
Govender said she tried to expose the Telegram group, but then last Friday two fake Facebook profiles in her name appeared, offering sexual services and providing her cellphone number.
“They were using my pictures and were offering my services for a fee. People were messaging me about these fake profiles and I felt that I had lost control of the situation.
“I was getting up to 200 calls a day,” said Govender, who approached security company Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) for help this week.
“I heard they had dealt with similar cases. On Thursday night a police officer contacted me and I’m going to the police station on Monday,” she said.
Govender added that she wanted to go public to warn other women.
“When that first picture was leaked, it was very traumatising, I locked myself in my room. But I have learned to deal with the fact I couldn’t change what had happened. I have felt very alone and no one really knows how this has affected me.
“There are people out there taking advantage of girls, I want them to know they can come out and speak about this. I won’t stop until I’ve cleared my name,” said Govender.
On Thursday, Rusa reported Govender’s ordeal on its Facebook page which has received thousands of comments, negative and positive.
“It was only on Thursday night when I sat down and checked Facebook that I saw all the comments. There were negative and positive comments, but I was literally flooded on Facebook messenger from people who were willing to help me,” she said.
Social media lawyer Sarah Hoffman, said that according to the new Publications and Films Act, sharing intimate photographs or videos without permission of the person in the image or video on any social media platform was a criminal offence.
Offenders can face up to three years in prison or a fine of R400 000.
“Unfortunately, using private photos to get revenge is often a common modus operandi of an aggrieved partner and anonymity online is a huge challenge. I’m hoping law enforcement will streamline their processes as this is clearly criminal activity,” said Hoffman.
SAPS KZN media did not respond to a request for comment.
THE endangered pangolin may be confirmed next week as the intermediate link between the original host, a bat, and humans in the spread of coronavirus.
Today is World Pangolin Day, dubbed “the most trafficked animal on earth”. But is this about to change?
The virus, which was named this week as Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation or Sars COV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy, has wreaked havoc in China where the source of the disease was identified as a market in Wuhan where live bush animals are sold. While the impact of the virus has largely been felt in China, it has also spread to at least 24 countries.
Yesterday at a seminar held on the coronavirus, Professor Tulio de Oliveira from the Kwazulu-natal Research Innovation
THE source of a mysterious white powder which closed down South Africa’s largest mail sorting depot, has been found.
In a time of fear over coronavirus outbreaks and possible terrorism attacks, the powdery substance that spilled from a parcel on Thursday night had an apparent legit origin. It came from a company in the US that sells yoghurt making kits.
Officials tracked down the recipient of the parcel who told them what she
and Sequencing Platform, University of Kwazulu-natal, said the scientific journal, Nature, “is likely to publish next week on the genome of a virus from a pangolin that was in the market of Wuhan and which has a 99.9% match to the coronavirus which is responsible for the current world outbreak”.
Yesterday, Pangolin Africa also published a release on the “99% genetic match between a virus found in pangolins and the new human coronavirus by researchers at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou”, with the organisation expressing fears that the ban on wildlife markets may drive such markets underground and hike prices for pangolin meat and scales.
“The hope of this finding is that humans, frightened of coronavirus infection, would reduce their demand for pangolin meat and scales,” said the release, but that may be premature.
“The Chinese government has placed a temporary ban on all wildlife markets and trade, based on the fact that these markets are ideal for the cultivation and spread of zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted between different animal species, including humans. This has led to the closure of China’s ‘wet markets’ where live wild animals are sold, which is obviously good news for animal rights,” stated the release.
But Pangolin Africa said the move was only temporary and should it be extended, “the ban will only drive the markets underground, since the demand for animal body parts, which has existed for millennia for use in traditional Chinese medicine, will not change overnight, regardless of the viral risks.
“Reducing access to wildlife parts by only selling them on the black market is likely to increase the street value of pangolins even further, not only in the end markets in China and Vietnam, but also in Africa where the chain of illegal wildlife trade begins.
“A higher street value for pangolins may trigger even more poaching. This is applicable not only to the pangolins, but also to rhino horn, lion bone and elephant tusk,” read the release.
It also said the link to pangolins may be limited to Asian pangolins which would drive demand for the four species of “uninfected” African species.
“Currently, one African pangolin is seized from the wild every five minutes, with one study suggesting that up to 2.7 million pangolins are poached on the African continent. Any increase in this rate of trafficking and consumption will be catastrophic to their survival,” said the release.
SHOPOWNER Mary Jane Villegas arranges a Valentine’s flower arrangement called “anti-ncov bouquet” in Manila, Philippines. Villegas said she placed protective face masks, alcohol, soap, toothpaste and gloves in her bouquets to remind people that flowers are not the only things you can give on Valentine’s Day, and also protection against coronavirus. | Aaron Favila AP
Salona Govender is speaking out about being ‘slut-shamed’ on social media and says some chat groups are exploiting girls as young as 14.