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Vikash Sharma

Poaching of wild animals seems to continue unabated in Odisha which is quite evident following the seizure of a leopard skin near old bus stand area at Karanjia in Mayurbhanj district on Wednesday night. Seven persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.

An organised wildlife smuggling racket is believed to be active in the State as it is suspected that the leopard was shot some 15 to 20 days back.

All the seven accused were arrested in a joint operation conducted by the officials of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Keonjhar and Karanjia forest range.

Ranger Pradip Prusty said, “As per the instructions of the DFO, we conducted a raid and managed to nab the accused from the spot. And, a 4.5ft long leopard skin was seized from their possession.”

According to Prusty, preliminary investigation suggests that the leopard was shot at Baunspal area some 15 to 20 days back. The accused were arrested while they were trying to strike a deal for the animal skin. “In the last 5 days, the accused were frequently changing places, from Keonjhar to Thakurmunda to strike the deal of the leopard skin,” said Prusty.

Initially, the joint team had arrested two persons while striking the deal and subsequently, five more accused were nabbed from Keonjhar for their alleged involvement in the crime.

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