• otv
Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Dhenkanal: In a sensational raid, a school teacher in the district was held by the Forest department for allegedly slaughtering wild animals in the Kapilasa Wildlife Sanctuary for smuggling their hides and body parts, on Monday.

A massive cache of wildlife products, including two leopard skins, several elephant and wild boar tusks, deer antlers, skins, turtle shells and bear nails have been recovered following the arrest of  Narendra Kumar Digi, who works as a teacher at Jamuanalia Upper Primary School in Sorisiapada area. Two of his associates, Anant Murmu and Laxman Murmu, have also been arrested. The trio will be produced in a court later during the day.

Describing Digi’s modus operandi, a forest official said, “Digi would teach at the school during the day. However, at night, he would slip into the tribal hamlets sprinkled in and around the Kapilasa Wildlife sanctuary and instigate gullible villagers to poach the wild for a few hundred rupees,” the official added.

Nevertheless, the arrest of Digi is considered significant as he was the kingpin of a massive wildlife smuggling racket and had been managing to dodge surveillance of police and forest department for long. The forest officials recently got wind of Digi’s activities following a tip off from an informer. His long run from law has been cut short for the time being.

Nevertheless, Digi’s arrest and the massive recovery of wildlife products came as a proof of the rampant poaching activity and wildlife trade in the state.

It may be recalled that on Sunday, the forest officials had arrested five poachers from the same area. Four country-made guns, two deer antlers, 100 traps and three scales of Pangolin had been seized from their possession.

The accused had been identified as Naba Balmuchi (21), Budu Balmuchi (27), Ratna Balmuchi (30), Kurupa Baipi (28) and Sanatan Dehury (33) of Dhenkanal.

The accused had been booked under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 for indulging in poaching.

The back to back developments have once again brought to the limelight the rise in poaching activities in Kapilash forest range. Prior to this, the forest department had arrested two persons and recovered a live pangolin weighing 15 kilograms from their possession.

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