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STF busts pangolin scales’ smuggling racket, two held

The smuggling of pangolin, a threatened species accorded protection under the wildlife protection act as a Schedule-1 animal, had earlier become rampant particularly in forests of Athgarh division in Cuttack district and Mayurbhanj district.

SNS | Bhubaneswar |

The Special Task Force (STF) of the crime branch wing of State police on Monday busted a pangolin scale smuggling gang by confiscating three kg pangolin scales in the Balasore district.

pangolin
Photo: SNS

The seizure of wildlife trophies came a week after the seizure of 14.2 kg of scales in Dhenkanal district in a joint drive by the forest department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of Jabalpur.

pangolin
Photo: SNS

Acting on specific ground-level feedback, the STF team assisted by Balasore Forest Division officials arrested the accused duo from Batapada Natapada under Berhampur police station jurisdiction in Balasore district. The STF sleight posing as customers struck a deal with the smugglers and arrested them said STF officials.

The smuggling of pangolin, a threatened species accorded protection under the wildlife protection act as a Schedule-1 animal, had earlier become rampant particularly in forests of Athgarh division in Cuttack district and Mayurbhanj district.

“The STF in its drive against wildlife offences has arrested 29 wildlife criminals in the past one year. The wildlife trophies seized during the operation included among other things 15 leopard skins, nine elephant tusks, two deer skins, three live pangolins, and thirteen kilograms of pangolin scales”, said Deputy Inspector General of Police, STF, Jay Narayan Pankaj.