Mumbai: Animal trust alleges Byculla zoo involved in illegal animal trading

According to the charitable trust, there have been no records of birds breeding in the zoo in the last 16 years; has also cited discrepancies in the zoo’s inventory report submitted to the Central Zoo Authority

A Navi Mumbai-based charitable trust for animals has alleged that the authorities at Byculla zoo, Jijamata Udyaan, are involved in illegal trading of birds and reptiles. Based on the inventory report submitted to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) by the zoo, Myvets Charitable Trust has highlighted that while the breeding of birds has been going on at farmhouses of private parties, there have been no records of breeding in the zoo for the last 16 years.

Zoo

“After an extensive investigation, we have been able to collect documentary evidence that points towards the possibility that the zoo is trading animals, birds and reptiles through direct selling and exchange of captive wildlife, to private parties. Not only this, they also seem to be manipulating the inventory of animals and stock registration data,” said Dr Madhurita Gupta, founder of Myvets Charitable Trust.

birds
Miserable state: The charitable trust has also pointed out the pathetic condition of animals, birds and their enclosures in the zoo. Pics/Shadab Khan

The trust has also sent emails to the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), asking them to look into the matter.

Tracking numbers
The inventory data from 1998 to 2014 of the zoo is uploaded on the CZA website. “According to the data submitted by the zoo, there have been no births recorded of African grey parrots in the last 16 years. Nine have been disposed of and 40 have died. However, the parrots given to a private party have been breeding and the number has increased from two to six in the last two years. In the zoo, the 22 birds have not bred at all, according to the report. This proves that some illegal activity is taking place in the zoo and we suspect that staff members are indulging in selling eggs or offspring to private clients and might also be selling live birds,” claimed Gupta.

She also alleged that in these 16 years, the military macaw was breeding normally, but only one egg hatching has been recorded in 2004. Moreover, for the last 10 years, there is no record of any breeding. “In the report, they have distinguished the sex of the chick. We want to know what method of chick sexing was used between 1999 and 2003. How is it that the military macaw has not been breeding in the last ten years?” Gupta questioned.

The charitable trust has sent emails to the CZA, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) of the state, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Regional Deputy Director, Western Region of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau. In the email, the irregularities concerning animals, brids and reptiles such as, crocodiles, Muscovy ducks, Golden pheasant, Blossom-headed parakeet, sand boa and Indian python have also been mentioned.

The trust has also pointed out the pathetic state of animals and their enclosures in the zoo, and has requested the concerned authorities to take strict action against people allegedly involved in the same.

The other side

Dr Anil Anjankar, director of Byculla zoo, said, “Someone is trying to spoil the image of the zoo by making such allegations. There is no illegal trade of animals, birds or reptiles taking place in the zoo. Since there is no adequate infrastructure available with us, we have stopped the breeding procedure until the revamp of the zoo.”

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