Three tigers and Asiatic bear rescued from Phuket zoo in Thailand

The 19-year-old partially blind Tiger looks on from inside a cage on a truck, animal news
The 19-year-old partially blind tiger named Rambo rescued from Phuket Zoo, Thailand, June 7, 2022, credit: Reuters/Jorge Silva

Three tigers and a large Asiatic black bear were rescued on Tuesday from Phuket Zoo in Thailand. They were the last animals taken from the zoo that was struggling to keep them.

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), which rescued the animals, said in total they removed eleven tigers and two bears from the zoo in the last few months. The animals were taken to a wildlife rescue center at the WFFT in central Petchaburi Province.

“They will be there, rehabilitated into larger enclosures, more natural environment, better animal welfare care because they can’t go back to the wild, they are too old and tigers [returning] back to the wild is almost impossible anyway,” Edwin Wiek, the founder of the WFFT, said.

Phuket Zoo was forced to shut its doors late last year, crumbling under financial pressures, according to local media. Wienk said that Phuket Zoo used to be a relatively good zoo, but in the last few years, “it deteriorated quite quickly, the quality of the zoo.”

“Over the last two years with the COVID closure of Thailand, the lack of tourism, the standard went down and down and down,” he said.

“The enclosures were very small, dirty, and there was no food, no money to buy food and care for the animals properly anymore, so that’s why we were called in to take the animals away and take them to our place,” Wienk added.

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