Acting on a tip-off, a team of Umerkote Forest range officials in association with the officials from Raighar and Dabugam Forest range, kept vigil on the road near Semla village under Umerkote police station this morning and seized the leopard skin from a wildlife criminal.
The accused has been identified as Ananta Panaka, a resident of Belgam under Jharigam block in the district.
Official sources said that Panaka brought the leopard skin from one Bana Santa of Kirapani village under Raighar black. He was caught by the Forest officials when he was smuggling the leopard skin to Nabarangpur to give it to a local businessman, identified as Jagannath Harijan.
Umerkote Forest range registered a case against the accused under various sections of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
“Efforts have been initiated to find out other criminals involved in the illegal trade. Further investigation is underway,” said Umerkote Forest Ranger, Purna Chandra Naik.
The seized leopard skin will be sent to the Wild Life Institute of India, Dehradun for chemical examination, he added.