Ananya Padhihary

A team of Special Task Force (STF) along with Padmapur Forest Range officials under Bargarh Forest Division has arrested a smuggler for allegedly smuggling ivory and seized one elephant tusk from his possession on Saturday. 

The accused has been identified as Ramesh Pradhan, a residence of Larambha in Bargarh district.

Acting on an intelligence input, the sleuths conducted a raid near Kendubhatta, Gaisilat in the district and laid a trap to arrest the accused while he was trying to trade the ivory. 

When the officials interrogated Ramesh about the possession of the elephant tusk, he could not produce any valid authority in support. Following this, he was immediately detained by the sleuths and handed over to Bargarh forest officials for necessary legal action, informed the Ranger of the Padmapur Forest Range, Purna Chandra Mahanta.

During the search, an elephant tusk weighing about 3.35 kg and some other incriminating materials have been recovered from his possession, said Ranger Mahanta.

It is worth noting that, in the last one year, the STF has seized as many as 20 leopard skins, 11  elephant tusks, 2 deer skins, 6 live pangolins and 15 kg pangolin scales and arrested 43 persons during a special drive launched against the wildlife criminals.

Meanwhile, the residents of Khurda are spending sleepless nights as elephants from the nearby Chandaka forest continue to barge into the human settlements in the district.

On Saturday morning, panic gripped the residents in Bhusandpur villages near Tangi in Khurda after an elephant was sighted loitering on the road near Ugratara Temple. Later the voices of the crowd drove the animal back into the forest.

Similarly, tension prevailed in Jaripal village under Khurda Town Thana, after the movement of an elephant was sighted by the residents on Saturday night. On being informed, the forest department staff immediately reached the spot and drove the pachyderm into the forest.

The residents of Khurda district have appealed the forest department to find a permanent solution to drive away the animals from the human settlement to avoid man-animal conflict in the region in the future.