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Devbrat Patnaik

Cuttack: In what could be just the tip of an iceberg, the Athagarh forest division officials, intensifying crackdown on illegal poaching of wild animals, Monday arrested a man from Patrabhaga village for his involvement in killing a leopard at Narasinghpur area one year ago.

The officials also seized a gun and a leopard skin from the accused identified as Ichananda Jani of Patrabhaga village.

Upon interrogation, Jani accepted that he along with a few other people have been involved in poaching and capturing of wild animals for various purposes.

Athagarh Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sasmita Lenka said, "Not only this place, the accused confessed to being a part of a racket that hunts animals in areas including Athagarh, Satkosia and Athamallick. He admitted to have hunted deer, wild boars and many other animals. The leopard skin seized from him was found to be a year old and he has admitted."

Meanwhile, the forest officials informed that a manhunt has been launched to nab other persons involved in the racket.

Earlier this month, the forest officials had busted an elephant poaching racket in Athagarh area. While one Matia Swain of Badamba area was arrested, the officials had seized deer antlers and a country made pistol from his possession.

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