Saswat Singhdeo

Cuttack: Taking strong cognizance of illegal pangolin trade incidents in the State, the Forest department has announced a cash reward of Rs 10,000 to persons who will inform about the smuggling of the endangered animal.

Athagarh DFO Sasmita Lenka informed about the move expressing optimism that it will further deter traffickers from trying to trade wildlife in Odisha.

Lenka added that based on inputs received during the interrogation of the accused by the team of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), two more persons suspected to be involved in the pangolin smuggling racket have been nabbed, taking the total arrests to 14.

The WCCB team has also cracked code word used in the smuggling deals for the endangered animal through social media, the DFO informed.

A two-member team of WCCB on Saturday carried out marathon interrogation of all the accused at Khuntuni Forest Range office after taking them on a one-day remand. The team is probing to ascertain whether the racket has any international links.