Hundreds of animals were left to die in their cages in the Nakhon Si Thammarat floods because a local zoo had no evacuation plans for them.
Talad Zoo, in Muang district, faced the greatest loss in its 26-year history after more than 100 birds, 50 snakes, five crocodiles and one deer reportedly died in the flood.
The remaining animals, numbering in the hundreds, have had to be crammed together while zoo officials try to salvage the complex.
“The animal deaths are the biggest tragedy since the zoo opened in 1985. The flood came so fast. We had no time to evacuate them. We regret the loss but it was truly unpreventable,” said Nattawut Panpob, deputy mayor of Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality. The zoo has been under water since last Saturday _ at one point the flood waters were 3m high.
Zoo staff made every effort to move the animals out of the cages, especially the birds. However, the birds wouldn’t fly away because they had become too domesticated. Eventually, the staff had no choice but to leave them in the cages.
After several bouts of heavy rain and low temperatures, the birds, most of them parrots, died.
Staff also had to take the tough decision to let more than 50 snakes drown as it was too risky to move them out.
“We had 11 crocodiles. One died in a cage while the other four were euthanised. We can’t locate the rest at the moment. As soon as the water recedes, we will try to bring them back,” Mr Nattawut said.
Villagers in several tambons in Nakhon Si Thammarat have reported crocodile sightings and attacks.