For the first time in the history of the 150-year-old Byculla zoo, a red sand boa – non-poisonous snake - was stolen from the Veermata Jeejabai Bhosale Udyan popularly known as Rani Baug on Friday night.
Authorities claimed this was a case of theft and not an accident or negligence. Zoo officials filed a case of theft on Saturday after a zoo employee went to feed the snake and found the enclosure empty.
Anil Anjankar, zoo director, said, “The snake has not been misplaced on the zoo premises, it has been stolen. We know this because the door to the snake’s cage has been broken and the lock was found near the cage.”
The red sand boa was last seen on Friday night, when a staff member went to feed it, officials said. Zoo authorities claim that the belief that a red sand boa brings good fortunes could have led to the theft.
“Such superstitions are the reason why we feel this snake was stolen,” said Anjankar. The Byculla zoo has around 10 other snakes, including pythons, cobra and russell wiper. The old snake enclosures are currently being repaired, zoo authorities said.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has proposed to shift the reptile and bird park to Powai. Work on the new park will begin after monsoon.