Sri Lankan police on Friday arrested three people suspected of trapping and killing an endangered leopard. They tried to sell his meat as a cure for asthma.
Police raided their home following a tip that they had used a snare to catch the animal. “They cut the head off and killed the animal after it got caught in the snare on Thursday,” chief inspector Dushantha Kangara told AFP.
He said the suspects had thrown the leopard’s head in the forest and took the carcass to sell the animal’s skin, meat and other body parts.
Lately, several leopards have been trapped by snares. Kangara said there was a popular belief that leopard meat could cure asthma, even though this is not scientifically proven.
Police seized 17 kilos (37 pounds) of leopard meat from the three suspects.
There are believed to be fewer than 1,000 leopards in the wild in Sri Lanka, and harming the big cat is punishable by up to five years’ jail.
Wildlife conservationists have asked the authorities to ban snares and to prosecute those who use them.Donate