Conviction for leopard skin

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On May 22nd Honourable Phiri of Mpika Subordinate Court convicted Dickson Zimba of illegal possession of prescribed trophy and sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment with hard labour. Mr Zimba was arrested in Mwanfushi-Mpika by Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) officers on the 22nd November 2016 for being in possession of a leopard skin.

At the time of his arrest 49 yr old Mr Zimba was employed by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife as a Wildlife Police Officer and also performed duties as a driver. Under the Zambia Wildlife Act, no. 14 of 2015 illegal possession of prescribed trophies such as leopard skins has a penalty of 5-10 years for a first offender.

The illegal trade of leopard skins is driven by a demand on the international black market. Leopard skins can be sold as finished skins for home decoration or use in the creation of luxury carpets. Locally, leopards are hunted predominantly for their skin which is used in traditional ceremonies.

Mr Zimba’s arrest was made as a result of an intelligence-led operation by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, supported by the Wildlife Crime Prevention Project and Frankfurt Zoological Society. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts is dedicated to protecting Zambia’s wildlife and ensuring that wildlife criminals are put to justice.