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Shopping Mall Zoo in Bangkok Seeks $798,000 to Release of Gorilla Caged for 30 Years

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Shopping Mall Zoo in Bangkok Wants $798,000 to Release of Gorilla Caged for 30 Years

A shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, is wanting 30 million baht (US$798,000) for the release of a female gorilla that has been caged up in the mall since 1992.

Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment reports it’s planning fund-raising events to raise the money to purchase the gorilla, which is currently confined in the department store’s Pata Zoo.

Mr. Thanespol Thanaboonyawat, secretary to the minister of natural resources and the environment, told the Bangkok Post Friday that the female gorilla, known as “Bua Noi,” would then be able to live out the remainder of her life in a far more pleasant setting.

Mr. Thanespol said to purchase “Bua Noi” from Pata Zoo; the ministry would organize fund-raising events.

He stated that the ministry had arranged the gorilla’s release from the department store’s Pata Zoo. However, the department store owners demanded 30 million baht for the gorilla’s release.

Mr. Thanespol said the ministry and the Zoological Park Organisation had received numerous complaints alleging that Bua Noi has spent more than three decades in her cage.

It would be preferable for Bua Noi to live with other gorillas in Germany rather than die alone in a cage. Mr. Thanespol stated that releasing the gorilla into the wild would be impossible. She was unable to survive.

He stated that the ministry had planned fund-raising initiatives such as charity races to solicit public contributions for the acquisition.

The ministry was unable to take any action other than to purchase the gorilla because it was privately owned.

Mr. Thanespol stated that the owner acquired the gorilla before Thailand’s restriction on trading endangered species in agreement with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Bua Noi was one of two gorillas to be imported into Thailand. She was acquired from Germany when she was 3-years-old and has been on display at the shopping mall since 1992.

Mr. Thanespol stated that her male companion had died a few years ago, and she has since lived alone in a 10-by-20-foot cage inside the shopping mall.

For years, animal rights activists have been trying to shut the shopping mall zoo down.

In 2015, The Sun reported that animal rights activists submitted a petition demanding the release of Bua Noi and the closure of the zoo.

At the time, petition organizer Sinjira Apaitan stated, “Animals should not be confined to such artificial environments.

“I intend to assist all those animals held hostage in this skyscraper shopping mall zoo.”

In 2015, the proprietors of Pata Zoo were obliged to sign agreements pledging to better care for Bua and other animals, or the zoo would be shut down.

However, the shopping mall zoo allegedly still has a leaking roof and small cages, and Bua Noi has nothing to do and no companions to keep her company.

pata zoo shopping mall bangkok

Mr. Kanit Sermsirimongkol, the zoo director, claims there isn’t a problem with a large number of animals from various natural habitats residing in a concrete zoo atop a retail centre.

He attributes Bua Noi’s sad appearance to her “natural facial expression.” He states that, “before the zoo’s launch, the shopping mall conferred with zoologists and vets and only chose animals suitable for the facility.

The animals are treated with respect, he said. I am not concerned about the criticism since we know Bua Noi best.

 

TripAdvisor reviews of the depressing shopping mall zoo give it a two-star rating.

One horrified visitor wrote: “Could not stop crying, literally beside myself, the animals had no space, no enrichment, on concrete floors, they were broken and scared when humans approached, one dog was running in circles, and a monkey was pacing back and forth, the orangutans looked broken, and a chimpanzee lay on the ground, pure concrete, please get them out.”

Another review, captioned “PATA ZOO IS ANIMAL HELL,” awards the establishment one star, which is required to post a review on TripAdvisor.

Others have called the shopping mall zoo a “prison” and “not up to 21st-century norms.”

The zoo visitor who captured the video stated, “I felt terrible for the gorilla. She looked very sad. It’s sad since there is no longer any hope for her.

“Many individuals had already attempted to help her, and she had a shot at escape, but nothing happened. I’m concerned that everyone has forgotten about her.

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