Two pet leopards seized and owner charged

Wildlife protection officials and Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division police raided a home in Sansai district of Chiang Mai province, seized two young pet leopards and charged a woman for illegal possession of reserved animals.

The raid at the house at Ban Si Ngam in Tambon Mae Faek yesterday came after they received a report from local people that owner of the house raised two leopards as pets and they were brought out daily to walk in the village, causing fear to neighbours.

They also doubted the recent disappearance of their pets might involve the leopards, said Issara Sirisaiyas, director of Wildlife Conservation Office in Chiang Mai.

Officials and police found two 3-year-old leopards, one male and one female, at the house.

House owner Niwat Na Lampang and his wife said the leopards belong to their friend, Nittaya Issarasilp, a 46 year old woman from Chonburi who also lived at the house.

Nittaya said she inherited the animals from her father in Chonburi and showed certicate issued by the Tiger Farm in Siracha to transport them from Chonburi to Chiang Mai.

She also showed document to occupy the reserved animals but it carried no official signatures.

Authorities later seized the two leopards, Fasai and Typhoon after she could not produce official document to own the animals.

Both leopards would be sent to Wildlife Conservation Centre in Chiang Mai for nursery and for DNA examination.

Nittaya will face charge of having reserved animals in possession without permit which is subject to four years in prison and/or 40,000 baht fine if found guilty.