Black mar­ket boom fear in pan­golin link

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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.

TANYA WATERWORTH

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

SHAUN SMILLIE

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.

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