Sandalwood tree stolenfrom outside BBP office

Sandalwood tree stolenfrom outside BBP office

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Officials of the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) had a rude shock on Wednesday morning when they found the sandalwood tree on the zoo campus missing. Thieves had chopped the tree and stolen it, leaving behind just the stump and roots.

Even more shocking was the fact that the tree was just opposite the BBP director’s office.

BBP executive director R Gokul told DH that the theft has come as a shock, considering the high security in the zoo. He said the thieves must have taken advantage of the heavy rainfall on Tuesday night.

They cut the tree guard and took away the tree, Gokul said. A complaint has been lodged with the Bannerghatta National Park and the forest department. The zoo management said the tree was only 12 years old and its sap (hard) wood was not ready. The zookeepers and other staffers, however, said the tree was around 20 years.

The zoo management is now worried about the safety and security of the animals in the zoo.

“If someone can cut a tree and take it away, they can harm the animals as well. We have decided to increase security. We are also contemplating erecting a barb wire fence over the compound wall of the zoo boundary. We are checking CCTV cameras and all the entry and exit points. We suspect the involvement of some zoo or forest staffer. The culprits could have entered the zoo from the national park entrance also,” a zoo official said. The management is also thinking of removing the guards of sandalwood trees as they seem to be attracting attention.

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