Representatives from the Phuket Provincial Office of the Department of Livestock Development (DLD), Phuket Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Chief of the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Conservation Centre, Phuket wildlife officials and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) visited the zoo yesterday following complaints filed with police at the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division in Bangkok.
Of paticular concern was a tiger who had been cited as “worryingly thin”.
The officials stated that the tiger pictured in the complaint is old and therefore naturally thin due to ageing and deterioration of health, a normal condition they confirmed. The picture was from someone’s social media account, they added.
They also confirmed that officers at the zoo provide the animals with sufficient food everyday.
Piyawat Sukon, Chief of the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Conservation Centre in Thalang, confirmed to The Phuket News on Wednesday (Apr 15) that he already knew about the tiger from posts on social media.
The issue of the tiger’s condition was also raised at a meeting of the 5th Area Office of the DNP on Wednesday morning, Mr Piyawat said.
“In the photo [posted online], the tiger looks thin, but we need to check why it looks thin,” Mr Piyawat had said.
The investigation comes as local wildlife officials also confirmed that Phuket Zoo will file a formal request to close the tourist attraction, possibly only temporarily, blaming the economic situation caused by the COVID-19 fallout for the zoo’s inability to keep operating.
“I just know that the Phuket Zoo owner will not continue to run Phuket Zoo and that the owner will ask to have the permit to operate a zoo cancelled because Phuket Zoo has been affected by [the] COVID-19 [situation].
“But we have yet to receive the formal request. We are waiting to receive it,” he added.
Mr Piyawat also confirmed that he had also been told of the zoo’s intention to shut down.
However, he explained that unless the zoo was ordered closed by wildlife officials and its permit revoked by force, the owner of Phuket Zoo is legally able to reopen another zoo at a later date.
He also explained that in legal terms even if the current owner was refused a new permit at a later date, the owner may be involved in a zoo granted permission to open to another person.
See original story here.