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Songkhla

Van driver and nine passengers injured in Songkhla van accident

The Thaiger

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Van driver and nine passengers injured in Songkhla van accident | The Thaiger
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A passenger van driver and nine passengers have been injured after the vehicle careered off the Asian Highway in Songkhla around lunchtime today.

When emergency responders arrived they found the van driver unconscious behind the wheel. All nine passengers had been injured. Three of them, one with a broken arm, were taken to the Narakin Hospital.

The incident happened just after 12.30pm as the van was carrying nine passengers from the Provincial capital Hat Yai’s bus terminal to a cave in the Sabayoi district.

Passengers have told police that as they got close the van suddenly veered into the roadside ditch saying they believe the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Police are continuing their investigation.

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Thailand

Zoos to be investigated for possible involvement in black market animal trade

Caitlin Ashworth

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Zoos to be investigated for possible involvement in black market animal trade | The Thaiger
PHOTO: js100

Zoos across Thailand will be investigated for possible involvement in the black market wildlife trade. The probe follows a case where 2 rare albino barking deer went missing at Songkhla Zoo and a top zoo official investigating the disappearance was shot and killed at the zoo in an apparent murder-suicide.

After suspicion that the deer were stolen and sold in the illegal wildlife trade, the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand board set up a panel to investigate zoos nationwide for possible involvement in the trade. The zoos that fall under the organisation’s responsibility are in Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Songkhla, Ubon Ratchathani and Chon Buri.

The panel will determine whether or not illegal wildlife trading and trafficking is happening at the zoos, according to the board chairperson and former permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chavalit Chookajorn.

Chavalit says the board also wants answers to the disappearances of the 2 albino barking deer at Songkhla Zoo. They went missing in February and September. The latest missing deer is believed to be eaten by a python. The board’s acting director Smitti Darakorn Na Ayudthaya says the deer’s carcass was found in a snake’s stomach.

The organisation’s director, Suriya Saengpong, initially went out to Songkhla Zoo to investigate the 2 disappearances. He was allegedly shot and killed by senior veterinarian Phuwadol Suwanna who later allegedly killed himself. After the fatal shooting, some have cited concerns that the deer may have been stolen and sold in the illegal wildlife trade. The case prompted the prime minister to order the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to investigate.

The Zoological Park Organisation panel plans to look at the current state and numbers of animals at the zoos under their jurisdiction and determine if there are signs of illegal wildlife trading. The system for reporting animal populations at the zoos needs to be updated, Chavalit says, adding that the process is complicated and time consuming. He also says the organisation plans to list zoo’s information on their website with animals’ birth and death dates.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

PM orders probe after top zoo official killed while investigating missing rare deer case at Songkhla Zoo

Caitlin Ashworth

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PM orders probe after top zoo official killed while investigating missing rare deer case at Songkhla Zoo | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Isran News

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an investigation into the Songkhla Zoo after a top zoo official investigating a missing rare deer case was shot and killed by the zoo’s senior veterinarian in an apparent murder-suicide. After the fatal shooting, some have cited concerns that the 2 rare albino barking deer may have been stolen and sold in the illegal wildlife trade. The prime minister is ordering the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to investigate the case and “leave no stone unturned.”

While inspecting the Songkhla Zoo as part of an investigation into the missing albino barking deer, the director of the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand, Suriya Saengpong, was allegedly shot and killed by senior veterinarian Phuwadol Suwanna. Phuwadol, who is also head of the zoo’s conservation, research and animal health division, then allegedly went back to his room, located at the zoo, and killed himself. The local police are also investigating the suspected murder-suicide.

An ablino barking deer went missing in February and then another went missing in September. Their pedigree traces back to a deer that was donated by HM Queen Sirikit. Board president of the Zoologicial Park Organisation Chawalit Chukajorn, who organised the initial investigation committee, said in prior reports that the missing animals case is a “serious issue.”

The Songkhla Zoo director Charlermwut Kasetsomboon claimed that the deer that went missing in September had been eaten by a python, saying he had photographic evidence and had it confirmed by a vet. Chawalit says he suspects the director’s claims could be a cover up. The Songkhla Zoo director as well as Phuwadol and a few other zoo officials were transferred to other posts for the organisation’s investigation.

Apparently, a horn from a dead white rhino recently went missing. Some suspect it was sold to wildlife traffickers, saying the rare horn is used in traditional medicine and can sell at a high price. The Natural Resources and Environment Crime Division, or NRECD, is now reviewing zoo operations and researching wildlife smuggling to prevent zoos from potential involvement in the black market trade.

While some are concerned that the albino barking deer were stolen and sold to black market traffickers, Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Woravuth Silpa-archa says don’t to jump to conclusions.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Crime

Songkhla senior zoo official carries out murder-suicide after deers go missing

The Thaiger

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Songkhla senior zoo official carries out murder-suicide after deers go missing | The Thaiger

A senior zoo official in Songkhla has reportedly shot himself in his home in an apparent murder-suicide after being investigated over 2 missing rare albino barking deers. Phuvadol Suwanna, chief of the conservation and research section of the state-run zoo, allegedly murdered his boss, Suriya Senpong, the Director of the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand, while he was investigating the incident.

Phuvadol was part of a group of 4 officials being investigated over the deers’ disappearance from the zoo in February and September of this year, with officials saying the deer may have been sold to a wildlife trafficking gang. According to the ZPOT director, the zoo had 3 of those kind of deer which were donated by HM Queen Sirikit. 1 deer died a while back, and then the last 2 went missing.

The zoo’s director was transferred to an inactive post while officials were investigating the incident. As for the white barking deer, 1 official says such an animal would not fetch a high enough price for officials to risk the consequences of selling them to wildlife traffickers.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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