West Bengal: Three exotic birds stolen from Kolkata zoo
Three exotic birds, seized by the Border security Force (BSF) from smugglers along the Indo-Bangla border and sent to the Kolkata zoo, were stolen on Thursday.
“Three keel-billed toucans, which were handed over to us by the BSF last year, were stolen. We have lodged a police complaint and an internal enquiry has been initiated,” said AK Samanta, director of Kolkata Zoo.
On Thursday morning, zoo authorities noticed that the enclosure where four keel-billed toucans were kept had been cut open and three of them were missing.
“The three were kept in separate cages inside the aviary as they were undergoing treatment. One was free and was sitting on top of a tree trunk inside the aviary,” said Samanta.
Keel-billed toucan is a colourful Latin American bird and the national bird of Belize. It has a huge beak, almost one third of its body size. In the grey market, a pair can fetch more than ₹10 lakh.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the miscreants had used a bird-catcher made of a stick and cloth to catch the birds. They then used a 15-foot-tall ladder kept in the zoo to climb the boundary wall and flee.
“There were at least two security guards within 50 metres of the aviary. There was, however, no CCTV camera in that area,” said Samanta.
In August 2009, at least eight marmosets were stolen from the Kolkata Zoo. Later, seven were recovered a one person was arrested from Chattisgarh.