Suryakant Jena

The Special Task Force of Odisha Police on Friday arrested two persons for illegally possessing and transporting a live pangolin near Khordha town.

On the basis of reliable information, the STF team conducted a raid on the service road of NH-16 in between Gurujanga and Pitapalli, Khordha about transporting/deal of wildlife and caught two people red-handed with a live pangolin.

The two persons arrested have been identified as Kailash Khosala, a resident of Tujung in Kalahandi district and Chaitanya Bhatra of Palapur, Nabarangpur.

During a search, the STF team recovered a live pangolin from their possession apart from seizing one TATA Indigo car bearing Regd No. OD 24 A 5569 and other incriminating materials.

When interrogated, the accused duo could not produce any valid authority in support of the possession of the live mammal, for which they were arrested, the Odisha Police said in a press statement.

Both of them have been booked U/s. 379/411/120(3) IPC & Sec 51 of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1973.

Police sources said that the live pangolin will be handed over to DFO, Khordha Wild Life Warden for safe custody.

The Indian pangolin, a scaly anteater also named Monis Crossicoudoto in scientific terminology is a solitary, shy, slow-moving, nocturnal mammal. It is a schedule-I protected animal under wildlife Protection act, 1972. Schedule I provides absolute protection - offenses under these are prescribed for the highest penalties.

As per police data, in the last one year, STF, the specialized wing of Odisha Police set up to curb the organized crimes against the wildlife, has seized as many as 16 leopard hides, 9 elephant tusks, two deer skin, five live pangolins, and 15 kg pangolin scales while arresting 35 wildlife criminals in various cases.