Elephant poaching racket busted in Athagarh, 1 held

Cuttack: At a time when death of elephants and tigers has sparked state-wide outcry, intensifying its crackdown on illegal poaching of wild animals, forest officials busted an elephant poaching racket in Athagarh area on Wednesday.

According to sources, forest officials have arrested one, Matia Swain of Badamba area and seized deer antlers and a country made pistol from his possession. He will be court forwarded by Narsinghpur Forest Range Officer today.

During interrogation, Swain admitted that he along with his three other associates had been involved in poaching of elephants in Athagarh, Badamba and Narasinghpur areas.

The gang had killed a male tusker last month in Guptamanik of Narsinghpur and two elephants in Badamba area in February 2018.

Sources said the gang used to smuggle elephant tusks to Nayagarh and other nearby regions at Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh per each tusk.

Forest officials said an investigation has been initiated to nab the other members of the poaching racket.