Four months after the seizure of half-a-dozen leopard skins, a few leopard teeth and bear paws from poachers and traders, forest officials of Odisha’s Nabarangpur district on Tuesday seized four leopard skins and a live male pangolin.
Divisional forest officer Swayam Mallick said that following intelligence inputs, a special squad led by range officer Dhanurjaya Mahapatra seized the leopard skins and Pangolin from six persons, two of whom belonged to Chhattisgarh.
Nabarangpur in southern Odisha is the subject of a year-long assignment by The Indian Express.
According to officials, the accused, one of whom was a poacher, were arrested at a place near the Odisha-Chhatisgarh border in Kosagumuda block of the district. Mallick said they have been remanded in judicial custody. A case under Sections 39, 40, 44, 49(b) and 57 of Wildlife Protection Act has been lodged against the four.
The pangolin is being housed in the zoo at Papadahandi block. “We will soon decide whether to send it to Nandankanan in Bhubaeswar or release it in the wild,” the DFO said.
The leopard skins were sourced from forests in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar. Leopard is a Schedule-1 animal, and buying or selling of its skins can attract seven-year rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000.
A couple of days ago, wildlife officials had seized 192 live Indian soft-shelled turtles in Chandahandi block and arrested one person. In February, forest officials had seized six leopard skins, a few leopard teeth and bear paws.