Forest department officials in Baikunthapur district of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal arrested two Bhutanese nationals on charge of wildlife smuggling and confiscated an 8ft long leopard skin and 150 bones of the endangered species along with a skull of an unidentified animal from their vehicle on Sunday night.
The two have been identified as Teja Wangchuk and Sijoy Norbu, both hail from Bhutan. After a long chase the forest officials had intercepted the vehicle (bearing Bhutanese registration number, BP 2A 1668) of the duo near Udlabari rail gate area and searched the vehicle. The leopard skin and bones were found hidden inside a sack full of ginger.
Ranger of the Belakoba range Sanjay Dutta said, “The items were supposed to be smuggled to Nepal via Siliguri. We are probing to find out if there is any Indian link involved in the racket.” The duo was produced to the Jalpaiguri court on Monday. The skin, worth at least Rs 4 lakh, was hidden in a sack of ginger, the officials said.