Senior Resident Magistrate Court in Zomba has sentenced 59 year old herbalist Henry Njolinjo to 18 months imprisonment after the court found him guilty of keeping a live hyena in his compound at Namwera Village, Traditional Authority Mwambo in the district.
Passing judgment on Thursday, Senior Resident Magistrate, Christopher Makumba said Njolinjo was guilty of being found in possession of endangered species without license which is contrary to Section 86 Sub section 1 of the Wild life Act.
The Magistrate said maximum penalty of this crime is K15 million fine on top of three years imprisonment with hard labour.
Njolinjo set a trap at Ulumba hills where he caught the hyenas after a bunch of hyenas proved menace on his goats for several occasions.
Villagers who felt unsafe with the hyena tipped the police and this prompted the law enforcers to arrest him for failing to produce documents to back his possession of the wild animal.
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust intervened in the case and carried out test to ascertain if it were a real hyena and the test proved that the animal which Njolinjo was keeping in his compound was a real hyena.
According to the Senior Resident Magistrate Court, the hyena was taken to Lilongwe for proper habitant.
Senior Resident Magistrate said Njolinjo committed a serious crime that also kept lives of other people in his area in danger.
Appearing before the court on Wednesday this week, Njolinjo pleaded guilty to the charge against him and further said he has three children to pay for their school fees and he did not know that keeping a hyena was a crime.
Considering a number of factors that included the convict’s age and the fact that the hyena was recovered alive and sent to the rightful habitant, the court sentenced the herbalist to 18 months imprisonment.