The owners are reportedly bankrupt and can't support the zoo anymore owing to the lack of tourists amid the lockdown.
A group of expats in Phuket, Thailand, were horrified to find rake-thin animals, still in their cages, as they stumbled upon an abandoned zoo. A video, taken of the zoo's condition and shared on YouTube, shows numerous animals, including tigers, bears, and alligators left to die. This is because the global pandemic has put a halt to tourism and the owners of the zoo have gone bankrupt. According to The Sun, Minh Nyugen, who is originally from Australia but who now lives and works in Thailand, discovered the abandoned zoo along with a few of his friends. In the video, he says that he was out for a walk with his friends, and that's when they decided to go to the zoo, as a joke.
"We got in there for a bit of a laugh and thought we were going to come across some healthy animals. Initially, we saw about a dozen alligators, crocodiles or whatever they are in the confinement... but as we moved on we came across a second [pen] and it was a bit disturbing," he said. "We could see there was a bit of a situation. These alligators had been left for dead...they were just in s**** conditions." The heartbreaking yet horrifying footage shows animals living in squalid conditions with leaves strewn everywhere, hinting that no one had been by the zoo in days. The water in which the alligators were residing was almost black, like sewage water.
As the video continues, the camera pans to a terrified tiger carefully studying its new visitors. "From the corner of my eye, I saw a tiger...it was hiding itself," Nguyen said. "It was basically scared of humans." Another clip of the tiger shows the emaciated animal howling in pain. "This tiger is dying," he said, adding that its screams were so distressing it gave his friends nightmares. After this horrifying experience, Nyugen and his friends decided to do something about it, so they returned the next day to feed some of the animals, but they were soon disheartened.
That day, they came across a zookeeper who told them that their efforts were in vain because the cost to take care of just one animal there was much more than what they had in mind. "If you want to give the tiger food, give money, about 7,000 baht and that will buy 50 pieces of chicken – that would feed one tiger for one day," he said. Thus, Nyugen had no choice but to set up a GoFundMe page and wrote that the aim of the page was to only help the animals and to not create any hostility towards the zoo owners. He wrote: I just want to say we're not here to create hostility towards the Zoo owners or point any fingers about who did what.
Our purpose and end goal is to save the animals and have them rehabilitated/rescued safely. Please help in any way you can. All proceeds will go towards saving and rescuing these animals. Their target was for $20,000 but they have raised $42,382. However, Edwin Wiek, Founder at People & Animals Thailand reportedly made an announcement regarding the tigers at the Phuket Zoo, reports The Thaiger. There are some fundraisers ongoing on the net to help the tigers at PHUKET ZOO that are in need of help. Please be informed that these fundraising campaigns are set up by private people who are not owners of the tigers, have no legal access to the tigers or are involved with the rescue of these tigers.
The tigers will not be released by the owners to anyone, authorities will check on the tigers and other wildlife later today but have said they will not confiscate or ask for a handover. Owners have said they will keep the tigers for a newly build zoo on Phuket. The outlet then reported that the zoo will file a formal request to close and has blamed the economic conditions brought on by the coronavirus lockdown in the country. Also, it was reported that people were brought in to help clean the zoo so that these animals in captivity can live in better conditions. If you'd like updates, please follow their Instagram.