Ananya Padhihary

Cracking its whip on wildlife criminals, a Special Task Force (STF) team of Odisha Crime Branch seized a leopard skin during a raid near Gambharimunda village under Banapur police limits of Khordha district on Wednesday. 

One person, identified as Ratnakar Sahoo of Padmapur area has been arrested for possessing the big cat's skin illegally.

Acting on a tip-off, the officials of STF team carried out a raid at a place near Gambharimunda village. During the search operation, leopard skin and other incriminating materials were seized from Sahoo's possession. 

He was arrested after he failed to produce any valid authority in support of the possession of the skin and will be forwarded to the Court afterward, said report. 

The seized leopard skin will be sent to Wild Life Institute of India in Deharadun for a chemical examination, added the report.

A detailed investigation by the STF is underway to ascertain from where the skin was procured and if a racket is involved in it.

Notably, since the STF has launched a special drive against wildlife criminals/poachers, it has seized as many as 22 leopard skins, 12 tusks, 7 deer skins, rescued Eight live pangolins, 15 kilograms of pangolin scales, and arrested 52 wildlife criminals.