Cassian Baliarsingh

Acting on a tip-off, the Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Police on Sunday detained a wildlife smuggler following a raid at the Padmapur area under the Bargarh forest division.

A live pangolin weighing around 12kg was rescued from the accused identified as Mahadev Mutkia hailing from Gandapalli under Paikamal police limits. The rescued pangolin has been handed over to Padmapur DFO for its safe custody.

On the basis of reliable information, a team of STF conducted a raid with the help of forest officials of Bargarh Forest Division near Bijadihi Chhaka under the Padmapur police station of Bargarh district.

During the search, the raid team also recovered other incriminating materials from the possession of Mutkia. The accused could not produce any authority in support of the possession of the live pangolin for which he was detained and later handed over to Padmapur forest officials under the Bargarh forest division for necessary legal action.

Further probe in this connection is on, the DFO said.

The Indian pangolin, also called thick-tailed pangolin, scaly anteater, and ‘bajrakatpa’ in Odia is a solitary, shy, slow-moving nocturnal mamma. It is a schedule-I protected animal under the Wild Life Protection act, 1972. Schedule-1 provides absolute protection – offenses under this are prescribed for the highest penalties.

Since 2020, the STF and forest departments have launched a special drive against wildlife criminals/poachers in different parts of the state.

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