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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The theft of Brazilian monkeys from Alipore zoological garden

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The theft of 8 Brazilian monkeys, the rare common marmosets from the Alipore zoological garden of Kolkata (India) on August 9 raised many questions on the security arrangements made by the zoological garden authorities.

The Brazilian Marmosets(7 out of 8 after the death of one while in transport with thieves) stolen from Alipore zoological garden and recovered by Chhattisgarh police from Durg district of Chhattisgarh brought back to the zoo on 31 August, 2009. Picture taken from The Hindu, issue of 1st September,2009

“Following the knowledge of the theft an alert was sounded in the border areas of West Bengal and security was tightened on airports and railway stations to prevent smuggle of 8 Brazilian monkeys stolen from the Alipore zoo, the two security guards managing cages were arrested” reported local media in Kolkata. The arrested guards were produced in the local court. It is important to note here that altogether 16 Brazilian monkeys were brought to the Alipore zoo in 2001 but some of them could not survive the climate.

In many of the zoological gardens private guards have been posted who belong to some or the other private security systems. But, under the conditions of present day poaching and smuggling of animals and international trade in their body parts, zoological gardens are expected to keep trained government security guards who can go up to any length for the protection of animals under their security. It has been reported that nobody could know how and when the theft was committed. Even the director and other authorities of the zoological garden expressed surprise over the incident.

The theft of 8 Brazilian monkeys out of which one died, points towards an already weak system of protection of wild animals in captivity of the zoological garden and it is suspected that someone of the garden had close links with the criminals. The matter is under investigation. It is reported that the Brazilian monkey can be sold in the international market for rupees one lakh or more. These monkeys are smuggled for research purposes as they have genetic proximities to human beings.

Three weeks after the incident of the theft the Chhattisgarh police through a high profile drama became able to arrest Rajesh Saikia who himself had gone to the police men who were in disguise of traders, to handover the monkeys and to collect the money. During interrogation by Chhattisgarh police Rajesh Saikia disclosed the name and address of a person Sujoy Das of Dum -Dum area of Kolkata who was his accomplice. The next day when the police was escorting Rajesh Saikia to Kolkata in a train, Saikia managed to escape out of the train at Jharsuguda and disappeared in Orissa. However, he was again arrested by Chhattisgarh police from Kudeshwari, his home area in Durg district of Chhattisgarh.

Now, since both the accused were reportedly giving contradictory statements during interrogation, the police had decided to interrogate from both of them at one place at one time, and to find about ant possible line reaching to the main smugglers. Thus the police men are still on their way to solve the problem by hook or by crook. The final report is yet to be known to the public. But, the protection of wild animals in the Alipore zoological garden and other zoological gardens located at different places in India has become a big challenge, and no strategy or plan could still be formulated by authorities concerned.What are the Brazilian Marmoset Monkeys? Read more under the label BIODIVERSITY.

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