Kothagudem: In a sting operation conducted by the Kothagudem forest officials, seven persons were arrested for killing a pangolin (Manis Crassicaudata) and selling its scales. The District Forest Officer (DFO) Ranjeet Nayak told the press here on Saturday that the sting operation was conducted based on information related to trade of pangolin on Friday. Forest Divisional Officer (FDO-Wildlife Management) Kinnerasani, K Damodar Reddy and his team carried out the operation.
The FDO posing as a purchaser interacted with one Konapakula Ashok of Jinnelagudem of Mulkalapalli mandal over phone and set up location for the trade of one kilogram pangolin scales for Rs 30,000 at Yellandu cross roads in Kothagudem. Two associates of Ashok, Sai Manikanta and Shabbir who delivered a pack containing 445 grams of pangolin scales were trapped and were taken into custody on the spot. Based on the information provided by them, the forest officials raided the house of Ashok on Saturday.
Ashok’s mother, Konapakula Geeta confessed that she bought the scales from their neighbours Payam Babu Rao, Payam Nagamani and Uke Chinnraju for Rs 3,000 and handed it over to Sai Manikanta. The accused revealed that they had killed pangolin in the forest area near Jinnelagudem four months back and removed scales after boiling the dead pangolin while the meat was eaten by three of them on the same day. All the accused were booked under the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 and would be produced before the court. Pangolin is schedule 1 species of the Act and is a critically endangered species, the DFO Nayak explained.
CCF Kothagudem PV Raja Rao and the DFO appreciated the efforts made by FDO Damodar Reddy, FDO Kothagudem A Appaiah, FROs S Suresh and S Srinivas Rao, DyROs K Devi and K Ravi, FBOs B Ram Prasad, M Sharat Babu, S Pitchaiah, T Ramesh and L Mukunda in nabbing the accused.
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