BHUBANESWAR: The Special Task Force (STF) of Crime Branch on Wednesday arrested a poacher and seized one leopard hide along with a single barrel muzzle loading (SBML) gun from his possession.
Poacher Hara Rana of Boudh’s Gochhangi village has confessed to killing the big cat in a densely forested region near Boudh-Kandhamal border.
The leopard was reportedly shot in the stomach, chest and neck. The seized hide will be sent to Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun for further examination, said STF DIG Jai Narayan Pankaj.
On being informed about alleged sale of a leopard hide by wildlife criminals, the STF officials conducted a raid near Kapasira village under Manamunda police limits in Boudh and nabbed Rana. During searches, STF officers also seized 12 ammunition and two plastic containers having gunpowder.
As per preliminary investigation, the SBML gun has been locally manufactured. “Though we are yet to ascertain the criminal antecedents of Rana, it is suspected that he might be involved in poaching in the past too. A case has been registered under Sections 120B, 379 and 411 of IPC, Section 25 of Arms Act and Section 51 of Wild Life (Protection) Act. Further probe is on to unearth more details,” said Pankaj.
In the last one year, STF has seized 15 leopard hides, nine elephant tusks, two deer skins, three live pangolins, 10 kg pangolin scales and has arrested 28 wildlife criminals.
On July 10, a joint team of Odisha and Chhattisgarh forest officials had busted an inter-state smuggling racket and seized nine big cat skins from Kalahandi.