Balasore, November 5 (LocalWire): Following a tip-off, wildlife officials here conducted a raid and seized eight monitor lizards from the possession of three poachers in Oupada.
The arrested poachers have been identified as Raja Bhakta, Rajendra Bhakta, and Jitu Bhakta, all residents of the Bagudi area under Soro police station limits.
They are produced in the court after being booked under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The rescued live lizards were released into the nearby forest, divisional forest officer (DFO) Biswaraj Panda said.
The tropical reptiles monitor lizards that belong to the Varanidae family have suffered a significant decline in their population in India due to rampant poaching.
“The monitor lizards are listed under Scheduled One, Part III of the Wild Life Protection Act. Their poaching or netting is a punishable offence under the Act.
These poachers had trapped them by laying snare in the forest,” Panda stated.
He further stated that inquiry is under progress by the range officer to find out whether the three were involved in the smuggling racket.
The poachers, however, have maintained that they were taking the reptiles for their own consumption.
The accused were intercepted on the road between Mangalpur and Dighabhanra with the help of Sabuja Bahini, department sources stated.