Koraput: Four leopard skins and a live pangolin have been seized by Nabarangpur forest official on Wednesday. Forest official arrested six persons on the charge of illegally trading body parts of wild animals. Four motorcycles were also seized from the accused.
By using our intelligence network we track of the actions of the accused for the past few weeks and arrested them from four separate places in Nabarangpur district and Chhattisgarh border under Dabugaon forest range, said DFO (Nabarangpur) Swayam Mallick.The pangolin was rescued while it was in transit from Chhattisgarh to Nabarangpur. All the arrested persons have been produced in court, he added.
Officials said the seized skin belonged to adult leopards and their value in the international market ran into lakhs. According to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, leopards are Scheduled-I animals and its poaching draws criminal proceedings. The DFO said while one of the arrested people is a poacher, five of them are primary purchases and acts as middlemen for poachers.
During interrogation, the accused confessed to have killed the leopards in Barsur region in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.
"They were smuggling skins to Nabarangpur for sale. The trade is on for the past several months," the DFO said.
In February this year, six leopard skins had been seized by Nabarangpur forest division from the border of Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts and five persons were arrested.
This month, 192 live Indian soft shelled turtles have been seized at Chandahandi and one person was arrested by Nabarangpur forest division. The turtles have been released in the reservoir of Indravati Dam near here.