Dehradun, August 15 : The Wildlife Department in Dehradun has seized three leopard skins and arrested two people in this connection.
Acting on a tip off, a Special Task Force arrested Lakshmi Chandra and Harjinder Singh and recovered leopard skins from them.
"We got information that some people were coming with leopard skins. The people were arrested on the Shimla bypass and the leopard skins were recovered from them. These are all skins of leopards killed in the past one and a half to two months," said Kailash Pawar, Inspector, Special Task Force, Uttarakhand.
Both the accused have been arrested and put in the police lock up for further action.
"They lured me and I got carried away. They said they would pay me two-three thousand rupees. This is the first mistake of my life. I never did anything like this before. I don't kill animals," said Lakshmi Chandra, accused.
Country's leopards are under threat, with increasing number of the wild cats being poached for their body parts and villagers killing them for straying into human settlements.
With tiger population dwindling in recent years as a result of poaching, wildlife officials say hunters have increasingly set their sights on leopards, killing them for their skins as well as bones, claws and penises for use in traditional Asian medicines.
Depletion of their habitat has also threatened the leopards, forcing them to stray into human settlements -- attacking people and cattle -- and often getting killed in return.
India had about 7,300 leopards according to a 1997 census, but conservationists say the number is now likely to be much lower.