Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

In a major crackdown, Forest department officials have busted a wildlife smuggling racket and rescued a pangolin in Nabarangpur district on Tuesday.

Acting on a tip-off, the Forest department officials conducted a raid on Chikili-Dharna road and arrested four persons while they were hatching plans to smuggle the pangolin. 

The forest department sleuths have also seized sharp weapons and mobile phones from their possession.

The rescued pangolin weighed around 8kg and was to be sold at around Rs 1 lakh, informed a forest official.

"We launched a sudden raid near Papadhandi at Chikili square in Nabarangpur while the miscreants were waiting for a customer to sell the pangolin with whom they were in touch. We have rescued the male pangolin and have arrested four persons involved in the case," said Dhanurjaya Mohapatra, Assistant Conservator Forest (ACF), Nabarangpur. 

In a similar incident on October 8, a Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Police arrested two persons for illegally possessing and transporting a live pangolin near Khordha town. The STF team conducted a raid on the service road of NH-16 in between Gurujanga and Pitapalli, Khordha and caught two people red-handed with the pangolin.

In another incident in Bhubaneswar on August 8, the STF arrested as many as 3 people while cracking a deal to sell a live pangolin near Kalinga Studio Chhak.

Even as initiatives are taken to curb the organized crimes against the wildlife, it seems the smugglers are ignoring the rules and conducting the crimes under the nose of the government which is throwing a challenge to the administration.