Skin of adult RBT skin seized, 4 arrested

Baripada: In what could be termed as the first of its kind incident in Similipal Tiger Reserve area, forest personnel stumbled upon a huge skin of a Royal Bengal Tiger (RBT) and arrested four persons.

On a tip off, the forest personnel raided a private lodging here last night and seized the about eight feet long and three feet wide skin which was about to be sold out for Rs 80,000, Bijay Kumar Panda, DFO, Baripada said.

Earlier, a forest personnel had posed himself as a middleman and bargained with the traders to which they had agreed.

The arrested traders, identified as Niranjan Mohanto, Chandrakant Sahu, Narendra Beshra and Dharanidhar Patra, belonged to Khunta area under the foothills of Similipal.

They confessed that the RBT aged about 20 years was shot dead by poachers a year ago near Phulbadia under Barahakamuda range in core area of Similipal Project Tiger.

There were gun shot marks at two or three places on the skin. "In all other earlier incidents, we had seized the skin of Panthers. But, for the first time today, we seized the skin of a RBT", Panda said adding based on the information provided by the traders efforts are being made to nab the poachers.