SAMBALPUR: Officials of Hirakud Wildlife Division arrested two poachers from Bargarh’s Mundakati village and seized skins of Asian monitor lizard and a sambar antler from their possession on Friday, September 17, 2021. The poachers are Ramanidhi Bhoe (52) and Khamanidhi Pradhan (35) of Mundakati village. The wildlife items seized from them include five skins of Asian monitor lizard and one 31-inch long sambar antler weighing 2 kg.
DFO Anshu Pragyan Das said the patrolling squad of Hirakud Wildlife Division raided Mundakati village and seized the wildlife items. The arrested duo is basically cattle grazers but habitual offenders. The five feet long monitor lizards found in Debrigarh Sanctuary are fast walkers. However, the reptiles are hunted for their skin and meat. “The skin of Asian monitor lizard is used as leather in bags, homemade accessories, instruments, etc. The seized skins had been dried on hot chimney to make it free from moisture and smell. Similarly, there is a demand for sambar antlers because of its medicinal use,” the DFO informed.
The offenders were booked under the Wildlife Protection Act and further investigation is underway. “We are trying to ascertain the involvement of local operators in the illegal wildlife trade. We have stepped up vigil and deployed informers in and around Debrigarh Sanctuary,” Das added.This is the second seizure by the wildlife division in the last one month. On August 19, officials had seized leopard nails and claw, skin and hair of wild dog besides ornament made of pangolin scale and arrested one person.