Army sergeant faces charges over death of leopard cat

Army sergeant faces charges over death of leopard cat

Pictures from Watchdog Thailand show a man with a rifle holding a dead leopard cat. The army admitted on Wednesday he is an army sergeant in the northern province of Chiang Mai.
Pictures from Watchdog Thailand show a man with a rifle holding a dead leopard cat. The army admitted on Wednesday he is an army sergeant in the northern province of Chiang Mai.

Disciplinary action is being taken against a soldier in Chiang Mai province who is accused of killing an endangered leopard cat, according to army spokeswoman Col Sirichan Nga-thong.

Col Sirichan said on Wednesday the army was treating the matter with a sense of urgency and had conducted an inquiry in which the soldier admitted killing the leopard cat, but said he was unaware it was a protected species.

She said a detention order had been imposed by the soldier's superiors as part of the disciplinary action and he will face legal action to be brought by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Netizens expressed outrage after Watchdog Thailand shared pictures of a hunter with a rifle holding a dead leopard cat. The public reaction  prompted the army to set up an inqury, which confirmed the hunter was a sergeant at an army base in Chiang Mai's Mae Rim district.

Col Sirichan said the army apologise for the wild cat's death and the conduct of one of its personnel.

According to media reports, the army base in question operates a farm and several animals had gone missing.

The leopard cat was shot nearby during a search for the missing animals last Saturday, it was skinned last Sunday. The photos first appeared in a group chat and were shared on social media.


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