NGO members spot visitors throwing coins at the Indian Rock Python in the belief that it is good luck and brings prosperity; no caretakers in sight to aid reptiles at Byculla Zoo
Coins can be spotted in the vicinity of the reptile; visitors outside the python enclosure at the Byculla Zoo. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Here's how superstition can make people commit acts of cruelty, as was recently spotted by members of an animal welfare group when they were near the python enclosure of the Byculla Zoo. They spotted visitors throwing coins at the Indian Rock Python - a Schedule I animal - under the belief that it brings good luck, but even more shocking is the fact that despite claims of utmost care, there was no caretaker in the vicinity to prevent visitors from doing their bidding.
Visitors get rowdy
A few days ago, members of Plants and Animal Welfare Society were at the zoo to conduct a routine check to see if animals were being tended to properly. Sunish Subramanian Kanju from PAWS, Mumbai, said, "We were shocked to see that there were no caretakers near the python enclosure. It was even more shocking that visitors were throwing coins at the python, with no one nearby to come to their aid. When we spoke to some of the visitors, they said that 'throwing coins on a python brings prosperity and good luck.'"
Now, the NGO has appealed to the zoo authorities that they should take strong steps to stop such menace. It has also written a letter to the civic commissioner and a copy of it has also been sent to the Member Secretary of the Central Zoo Authority.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Tripathi, director of Byculla Zoo, said, "We have security guards as well as caretakers present to take proper care of the animals. Time and again, we have taken action against those who are found provoking are disturbing the animals in the zoo. But regarding people disturbing the python or throwing coins at them, we have not yet received any complaint."
What's the law?
Under Section 38 (J) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, it is an offence to tease, injure or cause disturbance in the zoo and the person responsible for the same can be punished with imprisonment for six months or a fine or with both.