Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Deogarh: Raising serious concerns over the rampant smuggling of leopard skin in Odisha, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has decided to take stringent action against the illegal trade.

Close on the heels of Crime Branch action against leopard skin smuggling rackets in the State, NTCA Chief, Anup Nayak during a telephonic conversation with OTV today informed that the NTCA authorities will very soon seek explanation and demand action-taken report from the Chief Wildlife Warden and the Secretary of Forest Department of the State on the unbridled cases of leopard poaching and smuggling of their hides.

The NTCA will also seek report from the State government on the steps taken for protection of Leopards.

Though the Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Crime Branch has successfully seized Leopard hides and arrested middle men involved in the cases, it is still unable to get any trace of the poachers and the end-customers.

"STF has enough staff but still the rampage is continuing. Probably, patrolling is not done strictly. To control the rampant smuggling, monitoring and patrolling should be done strictly without any lapses," said Nayak.

Earlier yesterday, the STF of Crime Branch busted a leopard smuggling racket in Deogarh and arrested three persons in connection with the incident. On March 15, CB officials had also seized four leopard hides and arrested seven persons on charges of operating a smuggling racket in Kuchinda area of Sambalpur.