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Odisha STF seizes leopard skin, arrests wildlife criminal

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.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

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 Rayagada district, officials said on Monday.

The poaching of these protected animals has shot up in Odisha with the seizure of around 40 leopard skins in the last two years. Of the seizures, the STF alone has accounted for the seizure of 29 skins.

The arrested person was identified as Jayant Bibar. The STF personnel nabbed the offender on NH-326 near Bangi junction at Ramanguda under Gunupur Police Station jurisdiction. 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 29 leopard skins, 24 elephant tusks, 7 deer skins, 14 live pangolins and 30.4 kg pangolin scales, 2 leopard teeth, 29 leopard claws while 70 wildlife criminals were also arrested.