Illegal Possession of Leopard Skin Will Get You At least 5 Years in Prison

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On 11th September 2017, Honourable Walusiku of Lusaka subordinate court convicted Derrick Chibuye of the Unlawful Possession of Prescribed Trophy (leopard skin) contrary to sections 87(4) and 130(2) of the Zambia Wildlife Act 2015 read together with Statutory Instrument No. 61 of 1993 and sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment with hard labour.

Mr Chibuye’s arrest was made as a result of an operation by the Department of National Parks & Wildlife during which he was found attempting to sell the leopard skin illegally.

Leopards are at risk of extinction across Africa and Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa they have experienced a population decline in of more than 30 percent in the past 25 years. The illegal trade of Leopard skins is driven by a demand on the international black market. Leopard skins are often sold as finished skins for home decoration or use in the creation of luxury carpets. Locally, leopard skins are a central element of many cultural ceremonies often worn used as regalia.

The conservation of Leopards is of great economic and ecological importance to Zambia. Leopard sightings a rare an exciting event for tourists and significant carnivore populations are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem.

This arrest was made as a result of an intelligence-led operation by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, supported by Wildlife Crime Prevention. 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.