Cuttack, Sept 20 (LocalWire): Two forest personnel were suspended today for dereliction of duty, leading to the death of a leopard in Nijigada forest area under Tigiria forest range of Athgarh forest division in Cuttack district.
The carcass of the leopard, a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 that provides for absolute protection of animals, was found on 17 September in the protected forest area.
As departmental investigation and post mortem report found the death due to poaching, two staffs, Sucharita Samantaray (forester) and Chandan Behera (forest guard) were suspended and disciplinary action initiated against them as they failed to discharge the duty of forest and wildlife protection, said senior forest officials.
‘Leopards have become the latest target of organised poaching racket in the state.
The hides of these protected animals are much in demand in the international market.
That is the reason why over 150 leopards have been killed in Odisha during the past one decade,’ wildlife activist, Biswajit Mohanty said.
The special task force of the crime branch had seized leopard hides worth of Rs 40 lakh on 15 March this year from Kuchinda in Sambalpur district and had arrested seven members of a poaching gang.