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Two poachers held with leopard skins in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow, March 6 (IANS) Two poachers, who operated in several states of the country, have been arrested with leopard skins in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district, police said Saturday.

Ashish Gupta and Raju – both in their mid 40s – were nabbed late Friday evening, following a joint operation carried out by the Special Task Force (STF) and police.

‘Two leopard skins were seized from their possession. They were nabbed near the Lisari Gate but one of their associates managed to give us the slip and escaped,’ STF inspector Dharmendra Yadav told reporters in Meerut, some 400 km from Lucknow.

‘The two have admitted that they have been working for poaching rackets, operating in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, for over six years,’ he added.

According to police, the two also had their clients in Nepal, to whom they used to sell wild animal hides, skins, antlers and meat.

They have been booked under the relevant sections of the Wildlife Act. Killing of a leopard is a serious offence under the act and offenders face three to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, if convicted, officials said.

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