Pradeep Pattanayak

A day after five leopard hides were seized in Gajapati district, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Susant Nanda on Monday informed about a racket involved in smuggling wild animals’ body parts from Odisha to other states. 

He said the department has already gathered information regarding those who are poaching big cats and who are the receivers and efforts are on to nab the kingpin of the racket who is on the run. 

“We have already started chalking out plans to arrest the kingpin. Yesterday’s seizure of five leopard skins from Paralakhemundi was possible due to the coordinated efforts of range officers and DFOs of other divisions. It was definitely a challenging task for us because we were clueless about from where leopard hides were coming and where they were smuggled to. The recent success will go a long way in busting the entire racket,” said Nanda. 

Since the demand for a kind of oil prepared from tiger’s bones and fats is high in South Eastern countries, we are also investigating from that angle, he said adding that the process of tracking the poachers with the help of AI is also underway. 

On Sunday, the Forest Department seized five leopard skins, one fishing cat skin, one leopard cat skin and huge quantities of pangolin scales. Five wildlife smugglers were arrested for their alleged involvement.