In the latest interception of wildlife offence, the Special Task Force (STF) wing of Odisha police seized a leopard skin and arrested a wildlife criminal in Kandhamal district, officials said on Wednesday.
The poaching of these protected animals has shot up in Odisha with the seizure of around 50 leopard skins in the last two years. Of the seizures, the STF alone has accounted for the seizure of 32 skins.
The arrested person was identified as Birenmitra Nayak. The STF personnel nabbed the offender on Tuesday in Brahmanipada village under Chakapada police station jurisdiction of the district. He was about to strike a deal to dispose of the skin when the STF arrested him on specific feedback provided from the ground level, said officials.
Poaching of leopards, a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 that provides for absolute protection of the animals, has gone up in the State, posing threat to the protected wildlife species.
The arrested person is being interrogated. It is being investigated to ascertain whether he was part of an organized wildlife trophy smuggling racket.
During the last two years, the STF has intensified its special drive against the wildlife criminals and poachers and seized as many as 32 leopard skins, 2 leopard teeth, 29 leopard claws and arrested 44 persons in this connection.