Kendrapara: Five members of an organised deer poaching racket were taken into custody and seized raw spotted deer meat, antlers and hides from the protected mangrove forest areas in Odisha, officials said today.
Bhitarkanika National Park forest personnel made the arrests yesterday. The racketeers used to trap and kill wild boar and deer species at regular intervals, the forest officials said.
Deer Hides, antlers, nets and nylon loops used for trapping animals were seized during a raid in Dangmal protected forest block within the core area of the national park, said Bimal Prasanna Acharya, the divisional forest officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division.
The accused persons were yesterday booked under several sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and later remanded to judicial custody.
The poachers often trap the animals by spreading nylon ropes in the mangrove forest and its nearby areas.
Some poachers also use trained dogs to kill spotted deer, said officials.
As a string of human settlements dot the borders of Bhitarkanika Park, animals straying from the park into these areas to graze easily fall into the traps of the poachers, the DFO said.
The forest department has intensified vigil with the help of anti-poaching squads to keep round-the-clock watch on the poaching activities, he said.
Stray cases of wildlife poaching have come to light recently. But the department has resolved to ensure animals' safety in mangrove habitat of the sanctuary, he said.