Berhampur: Endangered red sandalwood worth about Rs three lakh has been seized in Odisha's Gajapati district, forest officials said on Friday.
Acting on a tip-off, forest personnel swung into action near Parlakahemundi on Wednesday when the sandalwood was being transported from Odisha border to adjoining Andhra Pradesh in a jeep, Divisional Forest Officer, Paralakhenundi, R K Singh said.
"The driver of the vehicle managed to abscond and effort is on to nab him. We have intimated about the incident to forest officials in Andhra Pradesh," the DFO said.
Red sandal is an endangered specie and in high demand in the international market, mainly in China. It is used for preparing medicines, handicraft items, furniture and perfume.
Forest officials suspect that sandal wood is generally smuggled to China via Andhra Pradesh.
Trading of red sandalwood has been prohibited by the Convention of International Trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, the sources said.
Since red sandal trees are abundant in Gajapati district, particularly in Garabandh forests, located in Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border area, smugglers from Andhra Pradesh indulge in the illegal transportation of rare woods from the district, they said.
Red sandal trees are found in around 31 of the 342 acre Labanyakota reserve forests, they said
At least 10 persons from Andhra Pradesh were arrested by the forest department last year while smuggling the species from Labanyakota reserve forest under Garabandh forest range, forest officials said.