A wildlife activist Sunday strongly criticised Khao Yai National Park officials for allowing a rescued Asian black bear to fall to its death from a helicopter during an operation to return it to nature.
Thongchai Saengprathum, secretary of the Khao Yai Foundation, said the officials concerned should face legal action for negligence during the February 11 incident.
The bear woke up aboard the helicopter while it was being flown into the national park in Prachin Buri. It had not been put inside a cage but was instead covered by a net and put on board. As the helicopter flew over forest land, the animal panicked and fell to its death.
The young bear, which weighed about 90 kilograms, had been found injured in November last year and officials took it for rehabilitation until it was fully recovered.
Thongchai said the accident could have been avoided as Khao Yai National Park had been a role model for other parks in its handling of rescued wild animals.
He said the park officials made a wrong decision to fly the bear in a helicopter because other wild animals were earlier transported in trucks to be released back to nature.