Delhi police have arrested a 22-year-old man who they claimed was involved in smuggling of leopard skin. The police also found three leopard skins with him.
Meetu Singh, and his fellow gang members, would hunt leopards in the forests of the Shivaliks in Himachal Pradesh and look for customers across the country, the police added.
“Singh and his associates had been involved in trapping leopards for their skin for the past five years. They would identify waterholes frequented by the animals.
They then laid a metal clamp with chains on the leopard’s path and hid the trap under branches and shrubs. Once the animal stepped on the clamp, its jaws would come together and the animal’s paw would be trapped. Once the leopard was caught, the poachers beat it to death,” Ashok Chand, additional CP (crime), said.
The gang did not use guns or any other weapon to kill the leopards to avoid any damage to the skin. “They would go to the jungle prepared to save the skin. A team will now be sent to Himachal Pradesh to identify those who had bought leopard skins from them,” another senior police officer said. “The skins the gang sold would fetch good prices as they were well preserved,” the officer added.
The police said the leopard skins were worth more than Rs. 9 lakh each in the market. Singh, who is a boxing coach, was arrested from GT Karnal bypass. Singh has admitted during interrogation that he and his associates have hunted and killed more than 10 leopards.
“Singh, a graduate, is a resident of Himachal Pradesh. He works as a boxing coach at a village school. He has also represented his state in junior boxing championships,” Chand added.