Three persons were arrested by forest personnel on charges of poaching a leopard in Chandragiri reserve forest under Rarsingi range in Odisha's Ganjam district, officials said today.
A country-made loaded gun, three mobile phones and a knife along with skin of the leopard were seized from the hunters who were arrested yesterday, said Divisional Forest Officer (Ghumusara South), Ramaswamy P.
The accused, identified as Ashok Dihudi of Tilisingi, Kalyan Nayak of Gujarali and Santosh of Samarada village of the nearby area were produced before the court, the DFO said adding the trio had no past record of poaching.
Around eight-year-old male leopard was allegedly shot dead by the accused persons. The accused claimed that they fired the leopard by mistake from a distance suspecting the animal might be a wild boar, the DFO said.
Though several leopards were roaming in the reserve forest, it was the first case of leopard poaching in the division in the recent years, Ramaswamy added.
Poaching of the leopard was come to light when some forest officials were patrolling in the reserve forest area in early morning, he added.
After killing the animal, the hunters had removed its skin and kept the legs separately, perhaps to remove its bones, said a wildlife officer.
"We have recovered these from different places in the jungle after arresting the trio," said forest ranger (Tarsingi) Anupam Banarjee.