Rashmi Ranjan

It seems Odisha is fast turning into a safe heaven for poachers with rampant killing of wild animals being reported across the State. While Odisha reported two elephant deaths due to electrocution on Tuesday, the Crime Branch STF has seized a leopard hide from Nakatideula in Sambalpur yesterday.

Acting on the tip-off, a team of STF carried out raids near Champali River embankment under Naktideula police limits in the district and arrested a wildlife criminal while he was striking a deal to sell a leopard skin.

The accused has been identified as Babuli Naik, a resident of Harijan Sahi in the district.

During the search operation, one leopard skin and other incriminating materials were recovered from his possession, sources informed.

As the accused could not produce any authority in support of the possession of such leopard skin, he has been arrested under Sec 51 of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, sources in the Crime Branch said.

While Naik will be forwarded to the Court of SDJM, Redhakhol, the skin will be sent to Director WII, Dehradun for biological examination, sources informed.

It is worthwhile to mention here that, a tusker and a female elephant died due to electrocution at Binika in Sonepur and Bonai in Sundargarh district after coming in contact with live electric fencing on Tuesday.

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