Poonam Singh

A leopard skin was seized by the Forest department during a raid near Bharmanipal Village under Riamala forest range in Deogarh district on Wednesday.

According to sources, two persons have been arrested for the illegal possession of the wildlife product. The traders have been identified as Prahallad Parida (55) of Kushakhalia village under Kundheigola police station and Pandav Pradhan, of Similipata village.

Acting on a tip-off, a special team of the department headed by DFO Khyama Sarangi conducted a raid and caught Prahallad red-handed while he was making a deal to sell the skin on Wednesday. 

During a search, the leopard skin and other incriminating materials were seized from Prahallad possession and he was subsequently put under arrest. However, a few of the member of the smuggling racket was able to flee the spot.

Later on Wednesday night, the officials were able to arrest another accused, Pandav Pradhan. 

Further investigation into the matter is on.

In the last one year, the Special Task Force has seized as many as 16 leopard skins, nine elephant tusks, two deer skins, four live pangolins and 15 kg pangolin scales and have arrested 33 wildlife criminals in connection with the recoveries.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)