The officials of the Odisha Forest Department seized a leopard skin on Wednesday and arrested two wildlife smugglers from Bolangir and Boudh in this connection.
The accused have been identified as Mukesh Manahira of Bolangir and Dibyashankar Bagarti of Boudh.
Following a tip-off, a team from Bolangir Forest Division raided Kotagaon village under Tushura police limits in the district and arrested wildlife smuggler Mukesh Manahira. Upon questioning him, he revealed the whereabouts of his accomplice in the neighbouring Boudh district.
The officials then raided Phatamunda village under Boudh’s Kantamal forest range and arrested the second accused, Dibyashankar Bagarti. They recovered a leopard hide from a haystack near his home.
The Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) said that the seized leopard hide is an old one and they are conducting an inquiry to ascertain the involvement of other smugglers in the case.
Both the accused have been forwarded to court.
In December 2023, a leopard skin was seized by the Forest Department during a raid at a place on the Kalahandi-Nabarangpur border. As many as six persons were arrested in this connection- three each from Kalahandi and Nabarangpur.