The Special Task Force (STF) wing of Odisha police rescued a live pangolin and arrested a wildlife smuggler in Bolangir district, said STF officials on Wednesday.
The accused person identified as Ajit Kumar Budek was apprehended near Baragoan Chhaka under the Deogoan police station jurisdiction of the district on Tuesday. He was nabbed while carrying out a deal to sell the protected animal, said STF officials.
The protected animal has been handed over to the Divisional Forest Officer, Bolangir for its safe custody, they said.
With the latest interception of wildlife crime, the STF has made recovery of ten live pangolins during separate raids in different places of the State in the past two years.
The wild animal, a schedule-1 animal under the wildlife protection act and a highly endangered species, is accorded the highest protection under the law. The accused person was later remanded to judicial custody under Sections-9, 39, and 49 (B) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
During the last two years, STF in a special drive against wildlife criminals has made a seizure of as many as 25 leopard skins, 13 elephant tusks, seven deer skins, 10 live pangolins, and 16 kg pangolin scales. A total of 56 wildlife criminals have been remanded to judicial custody during the period, the STF officials concluded.