Animal rights group calls for Thai zoo with neglected animals to be closed down

Harrowing footage shows dozens of mistreated and neglected animals being kept at an allegedly illegal zoo on a Thai island. Shocked visitors recorded the squalid conditions at the Samui Monkey Centre on Koh Samui in southern Thailand on March 26. Monkeys were being kept on chains so short that they had to stand up all day – risking being choked to death if they sat down to ease their aching limbs. Other emaciated primates were being held in small rusty cages where they were pacing around nervously, scratching at their own fur. While in other parts of the dirty zoo, exotic birds were caged unable to fly and malnourished crocodiles were laying on barren concrete floors with only algae-ridden shallow water to paddle in. Piles of garbage could be seen piled up next to the animals, risking deadly infections and viruses. The condition of the animals – which rights groups claim are being kept illegally without permits – has deteriorated since Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions decimated the country’s tourism industry and the owners have been unable to keep up with the costs of looking after the creatures. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is now calling on the Thai government to close down the centre, which it says is causing a ‘life of misery’ for the animals which are ‘desperate for companionship’. They claim the animals are not given ‘any food or water’ and the birds are prevented from ‘flying more than a metre’. PETA chief Jason Baker wrote to Thunya Netithamkul, Director-General Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, calling for the centre to be closed. He wrote: ‘PETA has received many complaints about this facility and has recently obtained video footage of the inadequate conditions and the suffering of the lonely animals who are forced to live there. ‘This includes a bear and other animals who are languishing in barren and decrepit cages, monkeys in cramped cages as well as one chained monkey who has been pacing in extreme mental distress, and others. In addition to treating these sensitive animals cruelly, the facility is illegally keeping animals without the appropriate permits. Facilities like Samui Monkey Centre only tarnish the image of Thai tourism as Koh Samui and other provinces prepare to reopen to international tourists. So, this is the time to close down this facility and allow the animals to be relocated to reputable sanctuaries. Moving forward, ethical tourism could bolster the rebound of Thailand’s flagging tourism industry.’ The Samui Monkey Centre did not reply to requests for comment today (April 8).