Vikash Sharma

The Special Task Force (STF) continues its crackdown on the illegal wildlife trade in Odisha. This time, the agency arrested two wildlife criminals and rescued a live pangolin in Rayagada district.

The two wildlife criminals have been identified as Samsan Raita (45), and Asmin Sabar (28). The duo was arrested following a raid by the STF officials on NH- 326 (Berhampur-Rayagada) near Akhusingi Chowk under Padampur police limits under the jurisdiction of Rayagada district on Saturday.

The raid was conducted based on credible information regarding a dealing/possession of wildlife products by wildlife criminals, STF sources said.

Senior STF officials informed that a case against the two wildlife criminals has been registered under Indian Penal Code sections 379, 411, 120(B) and Section 51 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. Both the accused were produced before SDJM, Gunupur.

The Pangolin has been handed over to DFO. As per senior officials, the Pangolin is a schedule-I protected animal under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. The Schedule I provides absolute protection and offences under these are prescribed for the highest penalties.