One Live Pangolin & Four Leopard Pelts Found During Smuggling Attempt

African White-Bellied Tree Pangolin

African White-Bellied Tree Pangolin A baby and a mother at Pangolin Conservation, a nonprofit organization in St. Augustine, Florida. The mammals are illegally killed for bush meat and their scales, which are claimed to have medical value. Photo by Joel Sartore

India – Forest officials in Odisha’s Nabarangpur district have seized four pieces of leopard skin and arrested six persons on charge of trading in wildlife body parts. One live pangolin was also recovered from the six persons, said Swayam Mallick, Divisional Forest Official (DFO) of Nabarangpur.

All the accused have been forwarded to the court. Four motor cycles used by the accused were also seized by the forest squad, he said. Mallick said a series of search and seizure operations were carried out by the forest sleuths over the past few weeks based on specific information.

Four leopard skins and the pangolin were seized while in transit from Chhattisgarh by a special squad of the Forest Division led by Range Officer Dhanurjaya Mahapatra and comprising of Forester Jagannath Bisoi, Forest Guards A Manoj, Sunil Behera, Ritesh Suna and other squad members. Stating that leopard and pangolin are schedule-I animals as per Wildlife Protection Act,1972, Mallick said four cases have been registered under sections 39, 40, 44, 49, 52 and 57 of the Act against six accused persons.

The DFO further said one leopard skin was seized form Ram Kasyap, two leopard skins were seized from Shiva Sethia and Purotham Thakur and one leopard skin was seized from Santosh Yadav, all from the adjacent Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. The live pangolin was seized from Durjyadhar Sabar and Khetrabasi Mehera of Ekamba village of Kosagumuda block in the district.

In February this year, six leopard skins had been seized by Nabarangpur Forest Division from the border of Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts and five persons were arrested. 192 live Indian soft shelled turtles had been seized at Chandahandi and one person was arrested by Nabarangpur Forest Division this month and the turtles were released in the reservoir of Indravati Dam near here.

Mallick said the work of Nabarangpur Forest Division was in consonance with this year’s theme of World Environment Day – Fight against the illegal trade in wildlife for life, zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife.