PHUKET: The recent brouhaha about Phuket Zoo’s ‘missing’ orangutan highlights – as every high profile incident does – Thailand’s patchy record with regard to wildlife conservation and care. The facts of Milo’s case are all too familiar to naturalists. Suffice to say that when the primate’s presence in the Phuket Zoo was questioned by animal-rights activist Vicki Kiely, the 13-year-old female orangutan abruptly disappeared before any official and redemptive action could take place.
According to the zoo spokesman, Milo had been “released into the wild” in a non-hunting zone. But the next day, police officers discovered her, locked in a tiny cage in the jungle and almost too weak to walk. Happily, Milo is now headed to a sanctuary in Ratcha Buri. Unhappily, the zoo has disclaimed any responsibility.
The case draws attention to the treatment of captive animals held in unnatural conditions everywhere, but especially here in Thailand. Orangutans, critically endangered, have long been a matter for concern in Southeast Asia where the recent man-induced bush fires in Sumatra and Borneo destroyed much of the creatures’ habitat, and with it the lives of affected individuals. Add to that poaching and the depletion of rain forest due to mono-culture crops such as oil palm, and the estimated population of 70,000 orangutans in the wild is probably far too high.
Apart from loss of territory, the principal reason for the disappearance of wildlife, especially in Asia, is the insatiable demand for their flesh and organs, both as pointless aphrodisiacs and as exotic additions to restaurant menus. It is a melancholy catalogue: many millions of sharks every year for shark-fin soup, the extirpation of the Sumatran tiger, the massive decline of Thailand’s population of pangolins and tokay geckos, all destined for Chinese dinner-tables, or the dwindling numbers of many bird species, from majestic vultures and eagles to dainty baya weaver birds.
Even further down the chain of being, is apis florae, the dwarf honey bee. A tiny bee found in Thailand, it constructs a wondrous, single comb oval nest that is literally suspended from a tree branch. Key pollinators and crucial to the region’s horticultural industry, these bees need all our TLC. But they rarely get any protection. Either the fragile nests are raided by the predatory weaver ant – as happened recently to the colony in my mango tree – or, if spotted by locals, they are knocked to the ground and the entire colony destroyed – all for the sake of a few ounces of honey.
Nothing, it seems, is either too big or too small for man, the arch-predator, to victimize.
If you have gardening or environmental concerns, contact Patrick at email@example.com. Many of his creative and academic publications can be found on his website: Green galoshes WordPress.
— Patrick Campbell
Get more from The Thaiger
Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.
Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.
Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.
Unhinged gunman fires 18 shots into school because kids were too noisy
Thailand News Today | Raid finds all monks on drugs in Phetchabun temple
Iran threatens footballers’ families with prison and torture, security source says
Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner
Angry Thai man condemns foreigner for not wearing a mask on BTS
Thai man commits suicide due to mass govt corruption
Pattaya loan sharks allegedly abduct and assault young woman
Nana Overview Guide in 2023
Phuket sees over 50,000 Russian tourists in past month
Hapless Bangkok gold thief gets caught at a bus stop
Stop and smell the tulips at Floral Fair 2022 in Bangkok
Police seize board game after claims it could cause insurrection in Thailand
Mauna Loa, world’s largest volcano, erupts for the first time in 40 years
Thailand tourism may see a decline next year
Thai govt to crackdown on cybercrime & handout free laptops to poor kids
Hundreds of thousands of meth pills seized in Songkhla
Thai police arrest drug smugglers with 1.6 million meth pills, 1 suspect still on the loose
VIDEO: Naked Russian man walks around with erection in Koh Samui
Skin disorders commonly found in Thailand
Police go after transgender sex workers, urge them not to damage Pattaya’s tourism image
Police arrest transgender Thai women for filming and disseminating child porn online
Don’t miss An Evening with Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne this week
Thailand and Cambodian officials agree to remove mines in border areas
Polish tourist killed in Phuket vehicle crash
Man dies trying to eat a coconut in central Thailand
Thai wife leaves husband and runs off with lover & 6mil lottery prize | GMT ON TOUR
Construction work in Pattaya brought to a new level
Venomous snake rescued from beer in Australia
Blaze guts foreigner’s car in Phuket
Man charged with murder of a transwoman found dead in canal
THAI & Bangkok Airways ordered to fix chaotic delayed luggage, or else!
Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14
Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4
Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO
Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2
Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO
Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23
In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO
Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21
Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19
Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18
Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15
Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14
Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13
Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12
Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11
Lifestyle1 day ago
What makes Tops Fine Food the ideal place to shop for premium food in Bangkok
Guides10 hours ago
Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner
Drugs2 days ago
Four members of drug gang arrested in Nakhon Si Thammarat
Politics1 day ago
Iranian Kurdish football player arrested after speaking out
Bangkok1 day ago
Elderly Australian amputee abandoned in a hostel receiving care
Southeast Asia1 day ago
North Korea aims to be world’s top nuclear power after missile test
Bangkok2 days ago
Why aren’t tourists returning to Khao San Road?
ASEAN1 day ago
Bangladeshi-Burmese border conference offers model for Thailand