Starving tigers, bears, alligators left for dead as owners abandon zoo amid coronavirus pandemic

Starving tigers, bears, alligators left for dead as owners abandon zoo amid coronavirus pandemic

Social media has been horrified after a video shot at a zoo in Thailand showed numerous animals, including tigers, bears, and alligators left for dead as the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to tourism across the world.

The footage, which was uploaded on YouTube, was shot at the Phuket Zoo by Minh Nguyen, an Australian who now lives and works in Thailand.

Nguyen explained that he came across the heartbreaking scene when he and a group of friends had gone out for a walk and decided to go into the zoo for some laughs.

"We got in there for a bit of a laugh, and thought we were going to come across some healthy animals," he said. "Initially we saw about a dozen alligators, crocodiles or whatever they are in the confinement... but as we moved on we came across a second [pen] and it was a bit disturbing."


"We could see there was a bit of a situation. These alligators had been left for dead...they were just in s**** conditions."

The zoo was in a derelict condition, with leaves strewn everywhere and no obvious sign that anyone had even been in its vicinity. The water in which the alligators were swimming was almost a sewage black.

As the video continues, the camera pans to a terrified tiger which is carefully studying its new visitors. "From the corner of my eye, I saw a was hiding itself," Nguyen said. "It was basically scared of humans."


In another clip, the tiger, which is emaciated and has its spine jutting out of its back, can be heard howling in pain.

"This tiger is dying," he said, adding that its screams were so distressing it gave his friends nightmares.

Nguyen shared that he and his friends returned the next day to feed some of the animals but were quickly disheartened when they came across a zoo staff member who informed them how much money it would cost for the upkeep of just one animal.


"If you want to give the tiger food, give money, about 7,000 baht and that will buy 50 pieces of chicken – that would feed one tiger for one day," he said.

Nguyen subsequently set up a GoFundMe page to raise money that would go towards the welfare of the animals and insisted the video was not meant to raise a mob against the zoo's owners.


"I just want to say we're not here to create hostility towards the Zoo owners or point any fingers about who did what," he wrote. "Our purpose and end goal is to save the animals and have them rehabilitated/rescued safely."

While the page has already raised over $36,000, Edwin Wiek, Founder at People & Animals Thailand, warned people that they were donating to private people who "are not owners of the tigers, have no legal access to the tigers or are involved with the rescue of these tigers."


"The tigers will not be released by the owners to anyone, authorities will check on the tigers and other wildlife later today but have said they will not confiscate or ask for a handover. Owners have said they will keep the tigers for a newly build zoo on Phuket," Wiek added.

The Thaiger reported that the zoo will file a formal request to close and has blamed the economic conditions brought on by the coronavirus lockdown in the country.


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 Tigers bears alligators left starving after zoo owners abandon them during coronavirus pandemic