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Five-year sentence for Zambian poacher

An employee of the Zambian Wildlife authorities has been convicted on charges of illegal wildlife product trafficking. His arrest is a result of the cooperation of the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife, the Wildlife Crime Prevention Project and the Frankfurt Zoological Society.

Mwaleshi River, North Luangwa National Park_Will Burrard-Lucas.jpg
North Luangwa National Park. Photo: Will Burrard-Lucas
On May 22nd Honourable Phiri of Mpika Subordinate Court convicted Dickson Zimba of illegal possession of prescribed trophy and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment with hard labour. 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, the 49-year-old was employed by DNPW as a Wildlife Police Officer and driver. Under the Zambia Wildlife Act, no. 14 of 2015, illegal possession of prescribed trophies such as cat skins have a penalty of between five and ten 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.  

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

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