9 leopard and a tiger skin seized in Odisha’s Kalahandi district
All the six accused nabbed were middlemen apprehended by the joint team that posed as customers of the animal skins to lure them out.
Eight leopard skins and a tiger skin were seized and seven wildlife smugglers were arrested in Kalahandi by a joint team from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and forest officials of Odisha and Chhattisgarh on Saturday.
Chief wildlife warden Shashi Paul said the seizures included a tiger and a leopard skin from M Rampur area and two leopard hides from the Junagarh area of the district. He said a massive inter-state racket may be at work as five tiger skins have been seized from the bordering areas in Chhattisgarh in the last six months and all the accused were from Odisha’s Kalahandi district.
Paul said the seized tiger skin was being examined and if required, it will be sent to the Centre for Wildlife Health at OUAT or forensic lab of Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun for confirmation.
He said all the six accused nabbed in this connection were middlemen apprehended by the joint team that posed as customers of the animal skins to lure them out. Kalahandi (North) district forest officer (DFO) Nitish Kumar said interrogation was on to find the interstate poaching and trading link.
In April, the Special Task Force of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) seized one leopard skin and two elephant ivory from two persons in Nayagarh district. The same month, the STF arrested a wildlife smuggler and seized a leopard skin in Boudh district. In February, STF seized a leopard hide, while in March they seized a leopard skin and arrested two smugglers in Barkot area of Deogarh district.