Cassian Baliarsingh

Posing as customers, officials of Ranpur forest division on Saturday arrested a wildlife smuggler and seized leopard teeth from his possession in Nayagarh district. The raid team has also rescued a parrot and a very rare Indian giant squirrel from him.

This apart, boar teeth were also seized from him, sources said.

According to reports, the officials posed as customers and approached the smuggler on the pretext of buying the leopard teeth. They first contacted him through WhatsApp and bargained for the price.

They laid a trap to arrest him red-handed after he confirmed the possession of the teeth and sent pictures on WhatsApp. As per plan, the officials disguised as normal customers, apprehended him near Talamaninag road and made the seizure.

Notably, the STF, a few days back, had arrested a smuggler and seized leopard skin from the area.

Meanwhile, a sharp rise in the number of poachers in Nayagarh district has become a matter of concern for the forest officials here.

“A special team led by Khurda ACF was formed to nab the smuggler. Our officials first contacted him through WhatsApp. After confirmation, we conducted a sudden raid on his house and seized the teeth from his mother Veena Pradhan and arrested the accused, Vinod Pradhan. This smuggling is mainly being carried out by his son Sanjay Pradhan,” informed Subrat Kumar Behera, Ranpur range officer.

“Now, we have arrested his father and efforts are on to arrest Sanjay Pradhan also. Now, we have seized leopard’s teeth, boar teeth, a live parrot and rare Indian giant squirrel from his possession,” he added.