This news surfaced only after an online petition was posted on Change.org, with a campaign aimed simply at improving Milo’s health, shelter and diet.
After investigating the issue, officials from the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Office in Thalang, which is responsible for the welfare of wildlife in Phuket and neighbouring provinces, discovered that Phuket Zoo had no records of any orangutans legally registered to be kept at the facility, and that no permit had ever been issued for Phuket Zoo to keep such an animal in its care, as is required by law.
Simply put, Milo was being kept at the zoo for an unknown duration “illegally”.
After learning the news, officials from the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Office inspected Phuket Zoo in hopes of finding Milo.
However, it was soon discovered that zoo staff had already dumped her in the jungle at Khao Phra Thaew. At that time, Suriya Tanthaweewong, a member of the Board of Directors of Phuket Zoo Co Ltd, said that he had no idea where Milos was, but admitted that he was aware she had been released at Khao Phra Thaew. However, he said that he had no idea when or where she was released.
So it came as somewhat as a surprise to learn this week that Phuket Zoo were now “legally” in possession of two baby orangutans which had been “legally” acquired from Safari World in Bangkok.
But what was even more surprising was the discovery that Phuket Zoo had yet to face any legal action against keeping Milo “illegally”. This despite the fact that Milo died in May due to what officials, who were taking care of her at the time, were told was health complications due to long-term poor nutrition.
So it beggars belief that a facility such as Phuket Zoo, which is a far from a popular attraction amongst the expat community and clearly has no true feelings about the well-being of the animals in their care, can firstly be granted permission to keep more orangutans, and secondly that a facility keeping animals “illegally” and in conditions which later can lead to their deaths, can do so without having to worry about any legal action being taken against them.