THE OWNERS of Pata Zoo are fighting back efforts by many people to move the gorilla, Bua Noi, to what they consider "a better home".
“Don’t use mob rule here,” Pata Zoo director Kanit Sermsirimongkhon said yesterday. “We have complied with all relevant laws”.
He said his zoo had a proper licence and its hygiene standards met all existing legal requirements. The licence has been renewed since August 13, he added.
Kanit was speaking after animal activist Sinjira Apaitan and her supporters met with Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief Nipon Chotibal yesterday to discuss how Bua Noi’s fate can be improved.
Pata Zoo is on the top two floors of Pata Department Store, an ageing building on a busy street in Bangkok. It houses more than 200 species of animals, including reptiles, turtles, birds, monkeys, leopards, tigers, bears and the lone gorilla, Bua Noi.
According to Kanit, Bua Noi is the only female gorilla in Thailand and perhaps Asia.
“We have taken care of Bua Noi well. She is healthy emotionally and physically,” Kanit insisted.
Sinjira, a Thai woman who lives in New Zealand, has been trying to raise public awareness, saying a gorilla like Bua Noi deserves a better home than just being locked up in a cage on the top of a Bangkok department store. Her online petition via change.org website had attracted 36,440 supporters as of press time yesterday.
Manop Praditwongsin, a vet at Pata Zoo, said if Bua Noi was moved to live on real soil, she could face the risk of bacterial infection.
“Many gorillas have died of such infections in Singapore before,” he said, adding that Bua Noi was doing just fine living on a cement floor.
During his discussion with Sinjira, Nipon said he would look into her group’s complaint.