A lonely 28-year-old gorilla is living her days out in an old mall in Bangkok along with some of her other wildlife friends. She is the last gorilla in Thailand but based on a report by Khaosod English, it looks like the living conditions there aren’t the best, as rats and roaches are frequently seen roaming around.
This is the Pata Zoo in Pata Pinklao Department Store, which is located on the sixth floor onwards and the gorilla in question, Bua Noi, is all alone in her bare cage. The 37-year-old mall looks rather outdated and decrepit, with lots of dirty, empty lots. She is now 28 years old and has been living in the zoo since she was brought over from Germany when she was one year old.
The listless gorilla has been said to have tears in her eyes but the zoo says that these is merely “natural lubrication” and nothing to do with her loneliness. As you look around the zoo, you can see that the other primates in bare and dirty enclosures, including the orangutan Pangpond, 6, and his mom, Porn, around 30 years old, as well as macaques, gibbons and a few other varieties of monkeys and apes.
A petition has been made before to the zoo’s owners for an offer to relocate Bua Noi to a modern zoo but one zookeeper says that she is too valuable for them to let her go. “They won’t let her go at this point. She’s worth at least 10 million baht (RM1.35 million) now,” he said.
Some of the other animals are in cramped quarters, with barely enough space to get comfortable and pests such as rats, roaches and pigeons can be seen, stealing food and drink from the animals. Khaosod says that the animals are kept in terrible conditions and the facilities are poorly maintained.
However, one of the keepers say that they rotate the exhibits every day, as they need space to clean out the cages. The zookeeper says, “If you are curious, please ask questions. If one is curious, but uninformed, it turns into a misunderstanding.”
Meanwhile, reviews online from visitors to the zoo says that they are worried about the animals’ living conditions. “The night animals zone is full of cockroaches eating the food of the exhibit animals. They are carriers of disease. The red-eared slider turtle is also sick with puffy eyes,” one netizen wrote.
The news portal says that the entire zoo looks worn and tired, with barely any updates so that the animals have better living conditions. The dwindling amount of visitors is another concern, because with no income, there won’t be any money to make upgrades.
Zoo director Kanit Sermsirimongkol has refuted these claims and brushed them off, saying that it was “fake news” and that the animals were fine. He’s an animal lover himself and says that the zoo was opened to help wildlife and allow more people to appreciate these creatures, he told Mthai.
There have been petitions by Change.org for the release of Bua Noi but the zoo has chosen to ignore any negative comments. Kanit says, “Generally, the wildlife in the zoo are well treated. Even the best zoo in the world can have drama.”
If you want to check out the animals yourself, you can do so by visiting the Pata Zoo. Tickets start from 50 baht (RM6.79) and 80 (RM10.80) baht for Thai children and adults respectively, and 120 baht (RM16.30) and 200 baht (RM27) for foreign children and adults.
Address: Khwaeng Bang Yi Khan, Khet Bang Phlat, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10700, Thailand
Opening Hours: 10.00am to 6.00pm
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