The Gariaband police recovered a leopard skin and arrested a person, who poisoned a water body to kill the animal, from the border between Chhattisgarh and Odisha on Tuesday evening.
This is the second seizure by the Gariaband police in the last 12 days.
Police said that in both the cases the accused poachers were from Nowrangpur district of Odisha, and were active in the Maoist-hit part of the Gariaband district of Chhattisgarh.
On Tuesday, Buduram Gond, 40, of Raidhar, Odisha, was arrested by a special team from Shuklabhata village in Baghnala police station limits, Superintendent of Police Bhojram Patel said.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Patel said police got an input that a man was trying to find a buyer for a leopard skin.
“A team of policemen was sent to Maoist-affected Shuklabhata and the accused was nabbed. When interrogated, Gond confessed to poisoning a water body to kill the big cat,” said Patel, adding that the skin was 82 inches long from head to tail.
Gond has been booked under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act.
On June 19, Gariaband police arrested a 55-year-old man for allegedly possessing a leopard skin. The accused Ramnath Netam lives at the border of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Police said that since most of the part of Udanti Tiger Reserve, which borders Odisha, is Maoist affected, hence these poachers enter easily and hunt animals.
Recently, police have also seized a pangolin which was smuggled from this area.
“In Gariaband, leopards have been found in nearly every part of the district and we are suspicious about the international gang active in this region. It seems that they know the people who purchase these skins since both came to sell them. We are working some leads and something positive will come out soon,” said Patel.
Wildlife activists of the state also believe that an international gang is working in Gariaband district, particularly near Udanti Tiger Reserve.
“Last November, seizures of pangolins were made in Nowrangpur district of Odisha. This is a fact that an inter-state gang has been active in Gariyaband since last year. We have found that wild animals’ skins and other parts are smuggled to countries through north-east states and Nepal,” said Meetu Gupta, member of the state wildlife board and wildlife activist.
Gupta has been demanding that a special task force (STF) be formed to nab the poachers.