Lucknow: Two poachers who operated in several states have been arrested with leopard skins in Uttar Pradesh`s Bahraich district, police said Saturday.
The two men in their mid-30s were nabbed late Friday from Risia area during a joint operation carried out by the Special Operations Group (SOG) and the district police but two of their aides managed to escape.
"Two leopard skins were recovered from the bag seized from the two men," police Inspector KD Singh told reporters Saturday in Bahraich, some 130 km from Lucknow.
"We have learnt that their accomplices, who managed to escape during the operation, also had leopard skins. Efforts are on to nab them on the basis of inputs provided by those arrested," he added.
According to police, the two were involved with a Nepal-based poaching racket and had their clients in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
"We are yet to ascertain where the leopards were killed. The two are giving contradictory statements about it. But they told us that they were going to hand over the skins to their gang members in Nepal," said Singh.
Killing a leopard is a serious offence as per the Indian Wildlife Act. The offenders can get three to seven years rigorous imprisonment if found guilty.