States

Rare monkeys stolen from Kolkata zoo rescued; one held

A Brazilian monkey at its enclosure in Alipore Zoological Garden in Kolkata. File photo: PTI  

Rajesh Saikia alias Raj, hailing from Guwahati, was arrested on Friday evening by crime branch sleuths near Khursipar gate, 40 kms from here, Deepanshu Kabra, Superintendent of Police, Durg, said on Saturday, adding police were investigating whether he had links with any international racket involved in smuggling of rare animals.

Rajesh told the police that one of the monkeys had died and he had buried the body. The carcass has also been recovered, the official said.

Following a tip off, crime branch sleuths posed as traders who were interested in buying the rare monkeys, which are in high demand for zoological research due to their genetic proximity to human beings, and met Rajesh who agreed to sell the animals.

The deal was sealed after they agreed to pay Rs. 10 lakh for each of the seven monkeys, the SP said, adding Rajesh was nabbed when he came to collect the money.

During interrogation, Rajesh claimed that another person Babui Bangali was also involved in the illegal trade.

“The West Bengal police have been informed and we have sent our team to nab Bangali,” the SP said.

Kolkata police had also announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 to anyone giving information on the stolen monkeys.

In India, these rare monkeys can only be seen at the Kolkata zoo and in Mysore. Altogether 16 Brazilian monkeys were brought to Alipore zoo in 2001 but some of them perished after failing to adjust to the weather conditions.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 11:43:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/Rare-monkeys-stolen-from-Kolkata-zoo-rescued-one-held/article16877803.ece

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