Implementation of policy involves multiple agencies operating at multiple levels in facilitating processes and actions to accomplish desired results. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was developed and implemented to regulate and control international wildlife trade, but violations of the agreement are widespread and growing worldwide, including in Nepal. This study attempts to understand how domestic CITES policies are translated into action and what effect actions and processes have on compliance. In doing so, this study provides insights into the implementation and enforcement pitfalls of national legislation that explain CITES violations in Nepal. Primarily, we used 26 key informants interviews to learn opinions of experts, and the grounded theory approach for further qualitative data analysis. In addition, we used Najman's (1995) policy implementation analysis framework to explain gaps. Many interrelated variables in the content of the policy, commitment and capacity of the agencies, the roles of clients and coalitions and contextual issues were observed. Variables that emerged suggest pitfalls in the regulatory policy represented by low probability of detection, arrest and punishment. Moreover, redistributive policies in buffer zones of protected areas are needed into perpetuity to benefit locals. Also, conservation organizations' support for building public and political salience is imperative.