Udala: Forest officials arrested two ivory smugglers and seized eight pieces of ivory weighing 45 kilograms at Angarapada village under Udala forest division in Mayurbhanj district Wednesday evening.
The smugglers were finalizing a deal to sell the ivory at Rs 18 lakh when they were arrested. Some forest department officials masquerading as customers nabbed the animal body part smugglers.
The arrested persons were identified as Fagu Prasad Hansda of Angarpada village and Peeth Soren, a resident of Anantpur village under Udala police limits.
According to a forest department official, they were tipped off that two smugglers had ivory pieces and were looking out for customers. A team of forest department officials met the duo introducing themselves as ivory customers. And subsequently, they were nabbed.
“As the duo failed to produce any valid documents in support of possessing the tusks, they were arrested and will be produced in a court,” he added.
While talking to journalists here, DFO Santosh Joshi said that the seized tusks are believed to be of a full grown elephant. The tusk pieces will be sent to Wild Life Institute of India in Dehradun for tests.
Notably, a tusker was found dead in Sarisua Ramkunda forest under Kaptipada range January 7. The tusker was found without tusks. Suspecting that the ivory seized Wednesday as those of the dead tusker, the forest department officials have intensified the investigation.
At the same time, the arrested persons told journalists that they had poached the tusker four to five months ago.