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Odisha STF busts pangolin smuggling racket

With the latest interception of wildlife crime, the STF has made recovery of five live pangolins during separate raids in different places of the State in 2021.

SNS | Bhubaneswar |

The Special Task Force (STF) wing of Odisha police on Friday arrested two members of an organized racket thriving on smuggling pangolins, an endangered animal conferred highest protection under wildlife protection act.

The accused persons identified as Kailash Khosala and Chaitanya Bhatra were apprehended near service road of NH-16 in between Gurujanga-Pitapalli near the Khordha town and a live pangolin was recovered from their possession. They were nabbed while carrying out a deal to sell the protected animal, said STF officials.

With the latest interception of wildlife crime, the STF has made recovery of five live pangolins during separate raids in different places of the State in 2021.

The wild animal, a schedule-1 animal under wildlife protection act and highly endangered species, is accorded highest protection under law. The accused persons will be later remanded to judicial custody under Sections-9, 39 and 49 (B) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and relevant sections of Indian Penal Code. The rescued animal is being handed over to the forest officials of Khordha Forest Division for its safe custody, said Deputy Inspector General, STF, Jay Narayan Pankaj.

The Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), also called thick-tailed pangolin, scaly anteater and ‘Bajrakapta’ in Odia is a solitary, shy, slow-moving, nocturnal mammal. It is a schedule I protected animals under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Schedule I provides absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed for the highest penalties, added the senior official.

During last one year, STF in a special drive against wildlife criminals has made a seizure of as many as 16 leopard skins, 9 elephant tusks, 2 deer skins, 5 live pangolins and 15 kg pangolin scales. A total of 35 wildlife criminals have been remanded to judicial custody this year.