Thu, Dec 8, 2016 | updated 11:36 PM IST

Two held with skin of endangered leopard in northern India

Updated: Oct 31, 2016 16:23 IST

Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Oct. 31 (ANI): Rampur police recently arrested two men and seized a leopard skin from them.

The duo were nabbed while they were on their way to New Delhi to sell the skin.

Rampur Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Tyagi said the leopard's hide is estimated to be worth 299,382 USD in the international market.

"Police station of Civil Lines in Rampur district and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team arrested the two men from Ashram Tirahe, Moradabad. One leopard skin has been seized from their possession, which is worth INR 2 crore (299,382 USD) in international market," said Tyagi.

Poaching in the country has reduced the population of several species including tigers, elephants and rhinos. Leopards are considered endangered and are protected under the Indian Wildlife Act.

Wildlife experts say tiger and leopard parts are in great demand in China and other Asian countries. They are wanted for their skins, which are worn during festivals, as well as for their bones and body parts which are used in traditional medicines.

One of India's bordering states West Bengal is often used as a transit point by smugglers travelling to Nepal or China. (ANI)