In the latest interception of wildlife offence, the Special Task Force (STF) wing of Odisha police on Wednesday arrested a poacher and seized leopard skin, arm and ammunition from his possession in Manmunda police station jurisdiction of Boudh district.
The poaching of these protected animals has shot up in Odisha with the seizure of over 25 leopard skins in the one year. Of the seizures, the STF alone has seized 15 leopard skins.
The arrested person identified as Hara Rana was nabbed while he was planning to strike a deal to sell the leopard skin. Besides the leopard skin, a country made SBML gun, 12 ammunitions, besides gun powder and other incriminating materials were seized from his possession, STF officials said.
The seized skin of leopard, a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 that provides for absolute protection of the animals, is sized at 6 feet.
The accused person could not produce any valid document for possession of animal skin. He was booked under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The seized skin will be sent to the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, for a chemical examination.
The arrested person is being interrogated to get further information. It is being investigated to ascertain whether he was part of organized wildlife trophy smuggling racket, said
Leopards have become the latest target of organised poaching rackets in the state. The hides of these protected animals are much in demand in the international market. That is the reason why over 150 leopards have been killed in Odisha during the past one decade, according to wildlife activists.
“In the last one year, STF has seized as many as 15 leopard skin, nine elephant tusks, two deer skins, three live pangolin and 10 kg pangolin scales and arrested 28 wildlife criminals.
STF is the specialized wing of Odisha Police to curb the organized crime in the State. Wildlife crimes remain one of the focus areas of the investigating agency”, Deputy Inspector General of police, STF, Jai Narayan Pankaj.