Phuket Opinion: No Kodak moments
PHUKET: Crocodiles are sometimes spotted on Bangla Road. This is not a metaphor, nor an analogy. Touts have been known to offer personalised photographs of splayed crocodiles with their mouths taped shut.
Thursday 19 July 2012, 05:14PM
It is a common sight to see touts with drugged animals; whether gibbons, iguanas – or as seems to be the fashion these days – lorises. Most tourists stroll on by, but some stop to marvel and have their photos taken (B100 a pop).
This nasty practice has existed for many years in Phuket. The only thing that changes is the particular animal. The latest hawking of baby loris however seems to be causing a huge outrage. Why? Is it the because they’re cute? Lorises have big beautiful, doe-like eyes and tiny bodies. Walt Disney would have struggled to create something cuter.
This is not a flippant remark. The cute factor of a particular animal cannot be understated. Two tourists were so horrified at seeing these particular primates treated in this manner that they alerted police, who contacted the Livestock Department who in turn passed the word to Awat Nikikul Chief of the Provincial Environmental Conservation Department.
On July 8, Mr Awat arrested two loris touts and took them to the police station. The baby lorises were confiscated and sent to the Wildlife Breeding Center in Phang Nga province and the touts were fined.
Happy ending? Not really. The messy and convoluted way in which this situation was passed around from department to department shows that Thai authorities have not quite made up their minds as to who should be doing what with regards to which particular animal entertainment on the island.
In the meantime, two different touts, along with two (one hopes) different baby lorises appeared on Bangla Rd just a few days later.
There is only one sure way to stop these crimes against nature. That’s for all tourists to refuse to have anything to do with the touts, so that their nasty little business withers away. How about it, tourists?