Wildlife & Biodiversity

Wildlife parts, live chameleon seized in Odisha’s Jajpur

Forest officials trying to find whether two arrested persons are poachers or couriers  

 
By Ashis Senapati
Published: Thursday 17 December 2020
Wildlife parts, live chameleon seized in Odisha’s Jajpur. Photo: Ashish Senapati
Forest officials with the wildlife parts. Photo: Ashis Senapati Forest officials with the wildlife parts. Photo: Ashis Senapati

Wildlife parts valued at Rs 10 lakh were seized from two persons, who were arrested on charges of poaching on the night of December 16, 2020 from Odisha’s Jajpur district, forest officials said.

The wildlife parts included four kilograms of elephant molar teeth, five deer horns. One live chameleon was also recovered.

The cache had been brought from the Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary in Balasore district by the two arrested persons. They were trying to sell the seized items on video sharing site YouTube by flashing their mobile numbers on the site. 

After getting a tip-off, a forest personnel had posed himself as a middleman and had bargained for the parts with the arrested persons, who agreed to sell them to him. 

“We arrested them when they came to Bhikipur village under Jajpur road forest range to sell the wildlife items,” Debendra Kumar Patnaik, the range officer of Jajpur Road forest, said.

“The exotic species of chameleon seized from them was protected under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act and the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. We released the seized chameleon in a nearby forest on 17 December,” he added.

The molar teeth are cheek teeth, with ridges, which are developed for grinding food, hence the name molar, which means ‘millstone’. In addition to their tusks, elephants also have four molars inside their mouths, added the forest officer.

The arrested persons have been identified as Sidharth Raj (23) of Nilagiri and Dibyalochan Sahoo (22) of Jajpur Road.    

“We are interrogating them to find out whether they had killed the elephant and deer or were mere couriers. We suspect there is a chain of smugglers involved in this type of trade and will try to reach out to them through the duo,” Patnaik said.

A case has been registered against the two under Sections 39, 44, 48 ,49 and 51 of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.

They were produced in court at Jajpur Road December 17. The court rejected their bail applications and remanded them to jail custody, Patnaik said. 

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