Wildlife trafficking racket busted in Rayagada; 5 held, Pangolin rescued

Rayagada: A joint team of police and forest department officials today arrested at least five persons from Gunupur new bus stand after busting a wildlife trafficking racket and seized a Pangolin from its possession.

The held traffickers have been identified as Asish Dash, Balaram Behera, Amulya Barik, Subhalaxmi Behera and Laxmi Sabar.

The raid was conducted last night after Gunupur Forest Division got a tip-off on the presence of the gang at the bus stand. A team of forest officials led by Ranger Ashok Pradhan carried out a raid with the local police later and arrested the accused.

Police also seized a car bearing Registration Number-OD 02 AM 7104 and five mobile phones from the possession of the gang members.

“The gang was preparing to transport the Pangolin, which weighs around 10 kg, to Bhubaneswar from Gunupur when nabbed. We are examining the role of a bigger racket in the incident,” said Rabindra Patra, IIC, Gunupur Police Station.

Notably, in a similar incident on December 12, Malkangiri forest officials had arrested seven persons and seized a Pangolin weighing 12 kg from their possession in MV-10 village.

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