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3 exotic birds go missing from zoo, 3 security staff sacked

3 exotic birds go missing from zoo, 3 security staff sacked

Kolkata: Three exotic birds, which were kept in separate cages inside the aviary as they were undergoing treatment, have gone missing from Alipore Zoological Gardens, Kolkata. The three Keel Billed Toucans were handed over to the zoo authorities by the personnel of Border Security Force (BSF) last year after they were seized from smugglers along the Indo-Bangla border.

"We have lodged an FIR with the Watgunge police station and an inquiry committee has been formed to probe the matter. The two security guards, who were on duty — in less than 40 metres of the cage from where the theft took place, and the security supervisor have been dismissed from duty," Asis Kumar Samanta, Director of Alipore Zoological Gardens said.

One of the toucans, which was free and sitting on the top of a tree inside the aviary, has not gone missing. 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 scale the boundary wall and escape.

Interestingly, the security guards on duty have not been able to throw any light on the incident. "This part of the zoo has not been covered under CCTV surveillance. We will install CCTV there," added Samanta.

Keel-billed toucan is a colourful Latin American bird. It is the national bird of Belize. It has a huge beak, almost one third of its body's size. In the grey market, a pair can fetch more than Rs 10 lakh.

In August 2009, at least eight marmosets were stolen from the Kolkata Zoo. Later, seven of them were recovered and a person was arrested from Chhattisgarh.

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