#SouthAsia #leopard plight – Arrested with leopard skins, out on bail, reoffends

Nakal Bahadur Bal of Makwanpur district, Nepal, was arrested with two leopard skins on 24 December 2016.  He was released on bail in a case under judicial consideration and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere.  On 8 May 2018 Bal was arrested in Lalitpur, Kathmandu Valley, with a leopard skin and a large quantity of leopard bones (in excess of 5kg).

The existing law has a penalty of two years imprisonment for those involved in trade of the common leopard and its body parts. However, an option to pay a fine of Rs. 28,000 (approximately US$260) to avoid the prison term is also available.   According to a leading wildlife crime investigator, Sub – Inspector Birendra Johari of the Nepal Central Intelligence Bureau (CIB), in most cases those arrested in the leopard trade are freed after paying the fine.

Out of the 23 people arrested for leopard parts trade (Nepal) in 2015, only two served the two years prison sentence.  WildTiger is currently following up on over 30 leopard body parts seizure cases made since that time.  The leopard is not on the Protected Species List in Nepal despite decreasing numbers in many areas.  Long delays before court cases are heard,  inadequate sentences, minimal bail amounts and lack of investigation emphasis are hampering leopard conservation in South Asia, particularly in India and Nepal.



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