Phuket

WFFT plans record 11 tigers rescued from Phuket Zoo

PHOTO: The WFFT will rehome 11 tigers and 2 bears from the Phuket Zoo. (via WFFT)

Economic downturn can be rough, leading to layoffs and evictions. And when your business and residence is made up of wild animals, like the Phuket Zoo, this downturn can create complex problems. With the Phuket Zoo closing, Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand is coordinating the custody and care of 11 tigers and 2 bears, the largest rescue in the history of Thailand.

The WFFT – well-known for their wildlife animal rescue – confirmed today that they would take custody of the 11 tigers from the Phuket Zoo. The director and founder said he is busy making preparation for the transfer of the animals to their new home, working with the founder of the Elephant Nature Park to ready land in Phetchaburi for the new feline residents.

“I am driving back to Phetchaburi today to ensure that the two areas for the animals are ready. I have two areas set up for them, nine rai and 10 rai, with ponds and trees and space for them to roam.”

The Covid-19 pandemic shut down so many businesses for the better part of 2 years, including tourist-driven animal attractions like zoos, wildlife parks, elephant conservation sanctuaries and more. The Phuket Zoo has now buckled under the weight of the pandemic as, unlike bars that can just turn off the power switch when there are no customers, zoos still have to keep feeding and caring for their resident animals, revenue or not.

Phuket Zoo and WFFT had actually clashed many times previously over conditions and treatment of animals, but WFFT recognised the zoo’s genuine desire to find a safe home for the tigers and bears despite cash offers for pelts and bones, so the two organisations buried the hatchet. The WFFT was a clear choice, having the expertise and facilities to rehome the tigers and bears into a reserve that houses 30 other bears already.

But the foundation has been inundated by venues all over Thailand who can’t afford to feed and care for their animals anymore, and the cost of rehoming a national record 11 tigers at once with be hard on their depleted resources. They are asking for financial support for businesses and donors. They can be reached at www.wfft.org.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.