Thieves in Kolkata have set a new record by stealing four pairs of Brazilian monkeys from the Alipore Zoo, so far supposed to be a safe haven for wild animals.
The police said a similar attempt was foiled by the zoo security guards five months ago. Each marmoset monkey (Callithrix Jacchus), which were stolen on Saturday night, fetches around Rs. 1.5 lakh in the international market.
While the police have detained two security guards on duty and their supervisor, the director expressed great surprise at the dexterity of act.
“These monkeys are small, barely six inches in length, and weigh around 500 grams. They are fast and it is extremely difficult to catch them in the dark. Moreover, they would raise noisy chatter if they are chased,” remarked Subir Choudhary, the director, indicating it can’t be the act of a single culprit.
The theft was discovered on Sunday morning when one of the zoo employees went to feed the monkeys. He found that the wire mesh of the cage snipped and the cage empty. A complaint was registered with the local police station that has started investigation.
The monkeys were brought from Delhi Institute of Immunology in January 2001.
“We had brought a pair, which had subsequently reproduced to reach a family of 16,” said Subir Choudhary, director of the zoo. They usually have a life of 16 years in captivity.