Three Persons Arrested While Transporting Leopard Body Parts


The Ududumbara Police have arrested three persons who were transporting a head and different body parts of a leopard for sale. The body parts were being transported in a three-wheeler and the persons were arrested in Kalalgamuwa. Around 17 kilogrammes of leopard flesh along with the leopard’s head and skin were found in their possession. The suspects were later produced at the Theldeniya Magistrates Court today.

According to senior environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena the leopard is a strictly protected species according to Section 31, sub-section 2 (Schedule II) of the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO). “Therefore it is a cognisable offence and the perpetrators can be arrested without a warrant. It is also a non-bailable offence.” Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Wildlife and Forest Conservation Minister C. B Ratnayake said that irrespective of social status these perpetrators will receive maximum punishment.

“The leopard is a protected species and I have given directions for the relevant authorities to impose maximum punishments on those who are guilty of laying snares. Nobody can also keep body parts of a protected species in their possession.” He further said that measures will be taken to amend the FFPO and that search operations are underway to identify the person who shot the leopard in Nallathanniya on Tuesday. For this year, 10 leopards have been killed as a result of snaring and illegal human practices. It has been alleged that leopard meat is a delicacy for Chinese and people in the Central Highlands lay snares to deliberately trap leopards and earn an extra income. The growing threats faced by these iconic animals have resulted in their conservation status declining from Near Threatened to Vulnerable in the June 2016 update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Source: Daily Mirror