Submitted by Newseditor on Fri, 2015-12-11 23:57 Mysuru: The Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) Chairperson is headed for a serious legal wrangle for her alleged gross and open violation of animal rights in City. A raid conducted by the Forest Department sleuths on a ZAK stall has exposed her role in this crime. She had illegally deployed a small time hunter/snake charmer to capture scheduled animals from the wild and display them in captivity at the Exhibition Grounds opposite the Mysore Palace. The staff under her have also gone a step ahead by allowing the hunter to mete out extreme levels of cruelty to the wild animals on display- an instance being literally stitching their mouths! Rehana Banu, the Chairperson of Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) and a candidate personally recommended by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, has reportedly committed the offence and is liable for 2 years of rigorous imprisonment under the provisions of Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1976. She arbitrarily awarded a contract to a small time hunter/snake charmer Anand Murthy to capture animals from the jungles and exhibit them in a stall owned by ZAK at the Dasara Fair in Mysuru. This is not all. The mouth of the snakes named under the various endangered schedules of the Wildlife Act were stitched and the public was allowed to fiddle with them in the open. Similarly some endangered monkeys were chained and wild varieties of ducks and Emu were kept caged. Ironically, a stall by the Forest Department is erected right in front of the ZAK enclosure but the violations have been happening right under the forest officials’ nose. However, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and ZAK Secretary Abhiyu Singh had opposed her idea of exhibition, citing criminal charges under the Indian Wild Life Protection Act. Despite similar warnings by Mysore Zoo Director C F Venkatesan, Rehana was adamant and arbitrarily issued the illegal contract to Ananda Murthy, sources said. Her baseless contention was apparently, “We are not using the zoo animals and hence we are not liable”. Some wildlife activists quipped sarcastically with BFirst.in, “We guess CM Siddaramaiah recommended Rehana Banu for ZAK chair in a state of his infamous slumber”. The chief minister was recently under the public scanner his alleged illegal recommendation of a less qualified forest official to the IFS cadre post in Sagar Forest Range. Accused Ananda Murthy reportedly defended himself by saying that he did not capture the snakes from the wild but procured it from snake experts of the likes of Snake Shyam. He is accused of capturing and torturing six endangered snakes, two rare monkeys among other animals. He will attract charges for illegal display and live handling of reptiles to all the visitors at the stall. All The species (Bonnet Macaque, Spectacled Cobra, Sand Boa, Trinket and the Russels Viper) crudely housed in the stall in plastic-see-through boxes and mesh cages are protected schedule 2 and schedule 4 species under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The exhibition by ZAK is held every year commencing from the Dasara season till the next couple of months. They are allowed to display pictures/charts of animals, play videos or do a powerpoint presentation but not exhibiting live animals, a Honorary Wildlife Warden Sharath Babu informed BFirst.in. The offence attracts criminal charges under Illegal Storing, Transportation and Display of wildlife under the Wildlife Protection act 1972 and Performance of Zoo Rules 2009.