Bhawanipatna: Continuing its crackdown on illegal wildlife trade, a joint team of forest officials and police today seized four more tiger hides in Kalahandi district. The special team has seized the skins from the house of one Ranga Charan Bhoi at Bafla village in the district after conducting a raid at his house.
The forest department has so far seized nine tiger skins since yesterday, Kalahandi Divisional Forest Officer Nitish Kumar said.
“Four more leopard skins have been seized in the evening today. Total nine skins including one of a female feline have been confiscated since yesterday. All the accused are being grilled to find out the ring leader of the racket,” added Kumar.
Similarly, the number of accused arrested in the case has risen to seven. All were middlemen and were apprehended while striking a deal with customers, Kumar added.
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Chhattisgarh was first tipped off regarding the illegal trade from a customer and it alerted the Kalahandi forest department which swung into action by forming a special team to deal with the case.
The team carried out raids at several places at Madanpur Rampur under North forest division in the district and Junagarh area of south division and seized five skins with tigers nails.
The team has arrested Manoj Behera from Madanpur Rampur, Narottam Bhoi of Narla, Ranga Charan Bhoi of Bafla village, Kartik Rana of Amatha village in the district.
Similarly, Bhuliar Bag, Kodanda Gouda and Uansu Jani of Kengar village under south division have also been arrested with seizure of two tiger skins.
According to forest department, a wildlife organ racket is operating on Odisha-Chhattisgarh border. The smugglers used to poach the leopards in Khariar forest and supply the skins and its other organs to neighbouring Chhattisgarh