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Baby orangutans at Phuket Zoo are legal, says official

PHUKET: Two baby orangutans which are being kept at Phuket Zoo have been obtained following the correct legal procedures an official from the Phuket Wildlife and Plant Conservation Office confirmed to The Phuket News today (Oct 31).

animals, health, environment,

The Phuket News

Monday 31 October 2016, 04:45PM

Officials from the 5th Area Office of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Office inspect Phuket Zoo in July. Photo: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Officials from the 5th Area Office of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Office inspect Phuket Zoo in July. Photo: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

The Phuket News learned of the baby orangutans arriving at the zoo from Facebook posts from some people instrumental in the saving of orangutan Milo from Phuket Zoo earlier this year.

Songchai Tongboonyang of the 5th Area Office of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation told The Phuket News that the two baby orangutans, one male and the other female, were acquired by Phuket Zoo from Safari World in Bangkok earlier this month.

“The male and female orangutans were born in Thailand and were originally housed at Safari World,” he said.

“They are both still very young,” he added.

Mr Songchai said he didn’t know the value of the animals, but he did reiterate that the orangutans were acquired following the correct legal procedures.

“The animals were transferred to Phuket following the correct procedures, and all the necessary documentation has been completed,” he said.

“I have informed that zoo that if any media wants to see the animals or asks about them, then they should give the media access to the zoo and allow them to report,” he said.

Meanwhile, Piyawat Sukon, Chief of the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Office in Thalang which is responsible for the welfare of wildlife animals in Phuket and neighbouring provinces has confirmed that the 5th Area office of the Department of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation visited Phuket Zoo in July to carry out a routine check, and that following the visit the zoo has been asked to make some improvements to the facility.

“After the inspection we ordered Phuket Zoo to improve some parts of the facility. One point was the elephant enclosure, and I understand this has been improved already.

“We have also recommended improvements be made to the tiger enclosure, but I am not sure if these have already been done,” he said.

When asked about the new arrivals at the zoo, Mr Piyawat advised that he was unaware of the orangutans.

“I was not aware there were new orangutans at Phuket Zoo,” he said.

However, Mr Piyawat did reveal to The Phuket News that the Wildlife and Plant Conservation Office’s next mission is tracking down all illegal elephants in the country, including in Phuket.

“This mission is an order from the National Council for Peace and Order to the Wildlife and Plant Conservation Office and the Livestock Office. The propose of the mission is to check the legality of all elephants across the nation, including in Phuket.

“We will visit all locations that have elephants and all elephants will undergo physical checks and blood tests.

“I have been told that this mission will have to be complete in 180 days, however, I have not received official confirmation of this. I am expecting confirmation in November,” he said.

“On Friday (Oct 28), I asked officials who want to be a part of this mission to get in touch with me,” he added.

In addition, Mr Songchai also confirmed to The Phuket News that the legal case against Phuket Zoo’s regarding Milo is still in the investigation stages.

“We have not heard from the investigator regarding the case against Phuket Zoo and Milo. We are still waiting to hear from them,” he said.



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Ed Sanders | 01 November 2016 - 11:33:56

Just because it is "legal" in the eyes of Thai officials doesn't make it right. With the track record of Phuket Zoo, I have nothing but sadness for these 2 wonderful animals, and absolutely no confidence that these animals will have a happy life and be well cared for.  My only hope is that there will be westerners acting as watchdogs over the conditions at the zoo.

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