With repeated seizures of leopard skins in various parts of Odisha, the wild animal is reportedly facing a grave threat from poachers in forests.
Two weeks after the Special Task Force of the Odisha Police Crime Branch seized two leopard skins and arrested a person in Nayagarh, yet another skin was seized by the Forest Department during a raid at a place on the Kalahandi-Nabarangpur border on Wednesday. As many as six persons were arrested in this connection- three each from Kalahandi and Nabarangpur.
As per reports, the forest officials received intelligence input about an ongoing deal for a leopard skin in Amapani Ghati in Kalahandi, bordering Chhattisgarh. They immediately raided the place and seized the leopard hide. Five persons involved in the illegal deal were arrested.
After the interrogation of the accused, a poacher, identified as Rishi Majhi, was arrested from Chancharaguda village under the Jayapatna forest range. A country-made gun, skin of a python, and other ammunitions were seized from his house. Forest officials suspect that the animal might have been poached in Jayapatna forest. An investigation into the matter is underway.
Kalaivanan R, the DFO of the South Division in Kalahandi said that there was reliable information about the illegal trading of a leopard skin. "Two anti-poaching teams of Chhattisgarh and Kalahandi were formed and a joint operation was carried out. A leopard skin was seized and the accused were produced in court," he added.
Earlier on November 20, the Special Task Force of the Odisha Police Crime Branch seized two leopard skins with gunshot marks in Nayagarh. The two leopards were suspected to have been poached for smuggling hides as the marks of gunshots were detected on the skins covering the heads of the two animals.