Animals

  • A buffet for monkeys in Lopburi Province.

    This is the 31st Buffet for monkeys set up annually in Lopburi Province, Thailand. The event rehearsal took place on 24 November 2019 in front of the Phra Pang Sam Yot temple, Tha Hin Sub-district. The temple is famous for having a lot of monkeys that wait for visitors every day beside the Buddha Statues. There will be 4 main buffet rounds for the monkey at 10.00, 12.00, 14.00, and 16.00.

    The rehearsal was a success as this year there were more monkeys than ever rushing in to grab the food and fruits. The 31st buffet for monkeys is named Tarzan Monkey Party. The food was placed in front vans that were decorated just for the occasion with paint and pictures of monkeys. On top of the van is a set up with hanging fruits and a rope so the monkeys have a competition to win the delicious prize set for the winners on each rope.
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    Credit: INN News

    Most of the monkeys in the area are harmless if you don’t bother them. They are pretty used to hundreds of visitors coming in each day to visit the temple. There is a statue of a monkey holding a banana in front of the temple. Although they might be cute and funny, visitors are not recommended to attempt and pet monkeys. On normal days if you wish to give them food just simply place it on the ground and they’ll all run it to fight for the meal.

    Credit: INN News
    Credit: INN News

    Locals and tourists filled up the temple in excitement to see the monkeys run down for a grab of the food. The Phra Pang Sam Yot is one of the main attractions in Lopburi that represent Thailand’s history and culture. This buffet for monkeys is a reminder of the monkey’s existence that has played an important role in the signature of visiting the attraction. It is also a fun activity for the people and the Lopburi city to pull visitors in for the travel season.

    Credit: INN News
    Credit: INN News

    FB Caption: Locals and tourists filled up the temple in excitement to see the monkeys run down for a grab of the food.

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  • Baby monkey found dead with head in a plastic bag.

    This story was shared by Facebook User Phongphat Veeradeetanon on 16 November 2019 after he visited Khao Sam Muk in Chonburi Province. Phongphat saw an infant monkey that had died from suffocation in a plastic bag. He decided to share the story as a warning for netizens to never give monkey or any animal food in a bag as they might get their head stuck inside, unlike humans these animals are helpless and your kindness might turn into a murder weapon.

    Credit: Kapook

    Phongphat stated in his post “I wanted to share a story, to never give food in a plastic bag, it’s better to just place it on the ground. The infant monkey got its head stuck inside and it couldn’t help itself. At around 4 pm today I went to Khao Sam Muk to take some pictures. When I was walking on the beach there was a small brown spot. Because of my eyes, I couldn’t tell right away what it was. When I got closer I realized it was a monkey that was stuck inside the bag.

    Credit: Kapook
    Credit: Kapook

    I carried the monkey out of the water, its body was still soft. It got his head stuck inside the bag and was trapped, it must’ve tried to get out and fell into the water, there was blood on the nose. I’m not lying but I cried because of the torture it must’ve been before the final moment of death. I didn’t know how to help so I decided to carry it onto the land, in case the parents were looking for their infant. The monkey still looked so young, I didn’t want it to die alone in the cold water. Please take the plastic bag away when feeding animals, don’t let sad incidents like this happen again.”

    Credit: Kapook
    Credit: Kapook

    Plastic pollution kills so many animals every day both on land and in the water. The only species that use plastic is humans, but other animals pay the price for us while we continue using single plastic every day without even thinking of where it ends up for years and years to come. Hope this story is a good awakening to realize that we are not alone on this planet.

    Credit: Kapook
    Credit: Kapook

    FB Caption:  I’m not lying but I cried because of the torture it must’ve been before the final moment of death.

    Source: Facebook User: Phongphat Veeradeetanon, Kapook

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  • Number of Captive Pandas Increases to 600 Globally

    CHENGDU, China (Xinhua) — A total of 60 captive panda cubs were born, 57 of which survived this year, leading to a captive panda population of 600 worldwide, China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration said Tuesday.

    The administration made public the figure at a meeting featuring the giant panda breeding, technology and research, kicked off Tuesday in the city of Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

    The rising number of captive pandas showed that a healthy, dynamic and sustainable captive panda population has basically taken shape, according to the administration, adding research on wild giant pandas is also making progress.

    A staff member takes care of the newly-born panda cub at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, June 6, 2019. Photo: Xue Yubin / Xinhua
    A staff member takes care of the newly-born panda cub at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, June 6, 2019. Photo: Xue Yubin / Xinhua

    Meanwhile, research and breeding institutions for giant pandas, including the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, are further promoting technology and innovation of panda breeding, and building key laboratories for endangered wildlife conservation, as well as establishing research partnerships with international organizations.

    Zhang Zhihe, director of the panda research base, said the base would be expanded and continue to focus on the improvement of scientific panda research and protection.

    There are fewer than 2,000 pandas living in the wild, mostly in the provinces of Sichuan and Shaanxi.

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  • New Species of Carnivorous Dinosaur Identified in Nong Bua Lamphu

    NONG BUA LAMPHU — Paleontologists announced they identified a new species of carnivorous dinosaurs that once roamed the land that is now Nong Bua Lamphu province.

    Mineral Resources deputy director deputy Montri Luengingkasoot said Tuesday that the new species is called Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis, named after the province where the bone fragments were found and the Sanskrit word for wind deity, reflecting the dinosaur’s perceived speed.

    Scientists estimated that the dinosaur was about four to 4.5 meters long and might have been alive roughly 130 million years ago. Thai scientists have been studying the bones since they were first excavated in 1988 at Phu Kao–Phu Phan Kham National Park in Nong Bua Lamphu.

    Montri said the bone fragments they found belonged to six parts of the dinosaur’s body, which are enough for scientists to identify a new species due to its unique ankles. He said the dinosaur is more closely related to birds than to carnosaurs, or predatory dinosaurs like the famed Allosaurus.

    The site where bone fragments have been unearthed will be developed into a museum, Montri said.

    The new species will be the eleventh species of dinosaur discovered in Thailand. The last was Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi, found July in Khon Kaen.

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  • Fake Vet robs Real Vets

    Sirilak Junjuem known as Dr. Nam 25 years old the owner of Happy Vet Care Clinic and Dr. Ying Tanipat Kajadpaik 31 years old owner of Tanipat Vet Clinic went to file a report with the Crime Suppression Division (CSD). The two veterinarians want to ask for justice in a case involving Teerawut 48 years old after he stole a car and millions of THB. There has been a report filed at the Kannayao Police Station in Bangkok on 5 October 2019 but the 2 vets wish that the process would go faster.

    Dr.Ying stated that in 2014 she invested in opening a vet clinic named Tanipat Vet. She hired Teerawut who was the brother of her best friend at the time to come help her take care of the clinic’s accounting and also be her vet assistant. In 2018 she started noticing suspicious details in the accounting and the fact that medication from the clinic was disappearing mysteriously. She decided to keep a close watch and discovered Teerawut stealing the clinic’s money for his own personal purposes and stealing medication to sell for other people. When she confronted Teerawut, he flat out denied and started to harm himself. Teerawut believed that harming and hurting his own body would make Dr.Ying believe the money and medication disappeared by itself. Teerawut finally ran away and Dr.Ying went to file a report with the Kannayao Police that leads to his arrest.

    Credit: INN News
    Credit: INN News

    Teerawut denied all charges and was let out on bail. While he was out, he sent job applications to other veterinary clinics and also stole from them. The damage in Dr. Ying’s case not including other victims amounts to over 3 Million THB. There are more victims of Teerawut but the evidence has not been confirmed to how much was stolen from them, but it is estimated to be many more millions. The victim decided to file a report with the CSD in hopes of finally locking Teerawut up and to stop him from stealing from other vet clinics. An officer has interviewed both of the vets and will be investigating the case to find more evidence against Teerawut

    FB Caption: When she confronted Teerawut, he flat out denied and started to harm himself.

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  • Elephant Squishes Car in Khao Yai National Park

    NAKHON RATCHASIMA — After a video of a wild elephant squishing a car driving through Khao Yai National Park went viral, park officials Wednesday distributed 10 rules to follow when encountering a wild elephant.

    After a Black Toyota stopped near the km. 30 mark of Thanarat Road in Pak Chong district in Khao Yai National Park around 4pm Tuesday, Deu sidled up to it, rubbed against it, before sitting fully on the car. The panicked drivers only drove away after their car was heavily damaged.

    “He usually likes to come to greet tourists anyway, but he never hurt anyone or any vehicles,” park director Kanchit Sarinpawan said Wednesday. “There were many factors that contributed to this, as we can see in the clip. We can see the drivers were able to drive out, but they may have been too panicked to do so.”

    Both drivers, reportedly teenaged men, were uninjured. But the 35-year-old male elephant Deu had dented the roof and broke the rear and side windows.

    Elephants will come out of the wild a lot in these couple months since they are looking for food after the rainy season, with their usual flora food in the forest drying up. Deu roams around the km. 28 to 32 mark on Thanarat Road.

    The following are the 10 rules that tourists driving through the park should follow when encountering a wild elephant:

    1. Stay at least 30 meters away in your car and slowly back up to keep your distance if the elephant approaches.
    2. No flash photography.
    3. Do not honk the car’s horn or make other loud noises.
    4. Do not turn off the engine and be ready to drive away at any time.
    5. Do not get out of the vehicle to take photos.
    6. Turn off your headlights if encountering elephants at night. Do not flash headlights or other lights at them.
    7. If surrounded by elephants circling your car, move towards a spot in the circle with no elephants.
    8. If the car in front of you backs up, please back up as well, as it might be an emergency situation.
    9. Do not get out of the car and approach the elephant.
    10. An elephant’s best senses are hearing, smell, and vision. If you turn off your engine, the elephant will approach and use these senses to investigate, by looking at, smelling, and listening to your car.

    Visitors to national parks have been known to bother and heckle wild elephants before. In a video that went viral in April 2017, park officials reported visitors to the police that honked and cursed at an approaching wild elephant.

    Photo: Baan Suan Phu Kradat / Facebook
    Photo: Baan Suan Phu Kradat / Facebook
    Photo: Baan Suan Phu Kradat / Facebook
    Photo: Baan Suan Phu Kradat / Facebook
    Photo: Baan Suan Phu Kradat / Facebook
    Photo: Baan Suan Phu Kradat / Facebook

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  • Officials Unveil Puppies Descended from King Rama IX’s Favorite Dog, Thong Daeng

    BANGKOK — Khun Thong Daeng, the iconic dog of King Rama IX, and her children may have been long dead – but their lineage lives on due to the scientific feat of artificial dog insemination.

    The Faculty of Veterinary Science at Kasetsart University revealed Tuesday that eight grand-dogs of Khun Thong Daeng were birthed earlier this year via artificial insemination with frozen semen from two of her dead sons. All of the eight puppies are healthy, and have been bestowed royal names from His Majesty the King.

    Khun Thong Daeng had nine puppies, all of them now deceased, with her mate Khun Thong Tae. Khun Thong Daeng’s children, third puppy Khun Thong Ek and sixth puppy Khun Thong Yip, had their semen frozen and stored at Kasetsart University on Aug. 30, 2005, prior to their deaths.

    The hospital’s recent decision to revive Thong Daeng’s lineage by means of artificial insemination was approved by King Rama X, officials said at a news conference.

    Photo: Thai Royal Palace
    Photo: Thai Royal Palace

    Thong Ek’s semen was inseminated with Khun Eslee, another royal Basenji dog on April 20. She gave a natural birth to a litter of five puppies on June 17 at the Animal Hospital at Kasetsart University:

    1. Khun Thong Moke Mun, female, black
    2. Khun Thong Sri Trang, female, brown
    3. Khun Thong Pikul, female, brown
    4. Khun Thong Inthanil, male, black
    5. Khun Thong Kankrao, male, brown

    Meanwhile, Thong Yip artificially inseminated royal Basenji dog Khun Ann on July 8 successfully. She gave birth at the same location on Sept. 6 to three male, brown-furred puppies:

    1. Khun Thong Chaiphruk
    2. Khun Thong Ruangpheung
    3. Khun Thong Chamchuri

    More information about the eight dogs is being prepared for a public release at a later time, officials said.

    Thong Daeng, 17-year-old Basenji dog, died on Dec. 26, 2015, due to old age at Klai Kangwong Summer Palace. She was a constant companion to King Rama IX in public events and even appeared in greeting cards issued by him in past years.

    As the most eminent pet of His Majesty the King, Thong Daeng is held in high regard in Thai society. Media agencies in Thailand call her by the honorific “khun,” which is usually reserved as a sign of respect for people. An animated film based on Thong Daeng’s life was also released in 2015.

    Photo: Thai Royal Palace
    Photo: Thai Royal Palace

    According to her official royal biography, Thong Daeng was born to a stray dog in Bangkok in November 1998. She was reportedly later adopted by Rama IX Medical Center, and given as a gift to His Majesty the King when he visited the facility that same year.

    In Dec. 2015, Facebook user Thanakorn Siripaiboon was charged with royal insult for allegedly spreading “sarcastic” comments about Thong Daeng.

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  • Rare Birds, Animals Under Threat From Amulet Craze, Campaigners Warn

    BANGKOK — Craze for helmeted hornbill heads as amulets and decorations is posing a serious to the birds’ small population in Thailand’s forests, conservation activists said Monday.

    The campaigners spoke at an event where they announced a new campaign to raise awareness over the dwindling number of rare animals in the wild. They were joined by celebrities and government officials who urged Thais to eliminate the use of animal parts, such as hornbill heads, tiger teeth, and ivory.

    While ivory and tiger teeth have long been targeted by poachers, a recent fad for helmeted hornbill in the black market is particularly worrying because there are only about 200 hornbills left in Thailand, according to an activist from environment group Traffic.

    Yet, despite the birds’ potential extinction, their plight is not well known among the public, group coordinator Maethinee Passaraudomsuk said.

    Image: Thailand Hornbill Project / Facebook

    Hornbills lost their head so that the orange-colored parts of their bills, or casques, could be carved into base reliefs of Buddha or even King Rama IX, the activist said.

    Speaking at the same panel, popular Buddhist monk and preacher Phra Medhivajirodom agreed with Maethinee that there’s a need to raise the public’s attention not just to elephants and tigers, but hornbills as well.

    “Don’t you know that killing [hornbills] will affect us, because one hornbill help plant 200,000 trees per year?” the monk said.

    The monk also said killing wildlife animals to make tributes to Lord Buddha will not bring any blessing to their lives.

    “It’s superstitious,” Phra Medhivajirodom said. “I should like to say it’s foolish, but dare not to, as I don’t want to offend anyone.”

    Another panelist is actor and volunteer Bin Banloerit, who was also chosen by the groups to be the public face of their campaigns. He admitted to having bought and possessed amulets made from wildlife animals in the past – his collection even included a tooth of a dugong – out of belief that they would bring good luck.

    But he changed his mind after working as a rescue volunteer. One day, Bin recalled, he realized that his belief was groundless because many dead bodies he retrieved from accident sites or crime scenes were wearing the same amulets he had, yet they met horrible deaths nonetheless.

    The panel on Oct. 7, 2019.

    “In the past I used to really misunderstand about tiger teeth and ivory,” Bin, who has been heading a relief effort in flood-struck Isaan region, said at the panel. “I heard these stories about its potency, that a knife or a bullet cannot penetrate the owner. That was twenty years ago.”

    The actor-turned-volunteer added that he once lost a football gamble, and his pair of ivory tusks were taken away by the loan shark, which also proved to him that the tusks didn’t bring him any luck after all.

    A study published in 2018 by USAID Wildlife Asia said about 500,000 Thais are believed to own ivory products, and 250,000 own artifacts made from tiger parts.

    Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation official Somkiat Soontornpitakkool said his agency has tried to visit some Buddhist temples that organized ceremonies to impart spiritual power into amulets made from ivory or tiger teeth, but his officials couldn’t do much.

    The matter was mostly left to religious authorities because the situation is “sensitive,” Somkiat said.

    He added that a revised edition of the Wildlife Protection Act is coming into effect in late November. Under the revision, violators who trade illegal wildlife items face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to one million baht.

    Additional writing Teeranai Charuvastra

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  • Officials Struggle to Retrieve Six Elephants Who Died at Waterfall

    PRACHINBURI — Park officials on Monday are trying to retrieve the bodies of six elephants that fell to their death at Haew Narok Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park over the weekend.

    Security officers were making their way down the waterfall Monday morning to reach the carcasses, which were washed away downstream, local wildlife official Witthaya Hongwiangchan said. The team will then try to secure the bodies with nets to prevent them from reaching and contaminating a major dam down the stream.

    “Given the distance and the current’s strength, it would take four to five days for the carcasses to reach the net,” Witthaya said. “After that, monks will conduct rituals and veterinarians will dissect the bodies. They will be buried properly.”

    A herd of eight elephants plunged 80 meters down the Haew Narok Waterfall, literally “Hell’s Abyss,” on Saturday morning. Six died from the fall, while two, a mother and a calf, managed to push themselves out of the torrents and survived; they were later returned safely into the wild.

    Khanchit Srinoppawan, chief of Khao Yai National Park, believed that the elephants might have fallen while trying to help their fellow friends in jeopardy.

    “The incident might have occurred after a calf slipped over the waterfall,” Khanchit said. “As elephants are social animals, they attempted to help each other but failed, causing them to drown.”

    The waterfall, which is the largest in Khao Yai National Park, will remain closed to tourists while the operation is underway.

    This is not the first tragedy at the ravine. In 1992, eight elephants fell to their death at the same spot.

    Khao Yai National Park is believed to be a home to more than 200 elephants. The 2,168 square kilometers park spans over four provinces and is part of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    The surviving mother and her calf seen on Oct. 5.
    The surviving mother and her calf seen on Oct. 5.

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  • Half of the Tigers Seized from Tiger Temple Now Dead

    RATCHABURI — Conservation officials revealed Saturday that more than half of the 147 tigers confiscated from the infamous Tiger Temple have since died from disease.

    Thanya Netithammakun, chief of the wildlife conservation department, said officials are working with Mahidol University to investigate the death of 86 tigers held in Khao Son and Khao Prathap Chang wildlife sanctuaries.

    Officials believe that the big cats may have died of laryngeal paralysis, because they exhibited symptoms prior to their arrival at the sanctuaries in 2016. The disease causes difficulty breathing. 54 of 85 tigers died at Khao Prathap Chang wildlife sanctuary, while 32 of 62 tigers died at Khao Son wildlife sanctuary.

    The animals died one after another over the course of three years despite being under the proper care of veterinarians, according to officials. They believed the animals might have caught the disease by immune deficiencies from inbreeding.

    Wildlife activists have long accused the Tiger Temple, known officially as Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, of animal abuse and of trafficking tigers and their body parts. The temple has vehemently denied the allegations.

    The abbot of the temple has urged officials to return the tiger cubs back to his care. He denied allegations of mistreatment and wildlife trafficking.

    “It’s karma for tigers,” Phra Visuthisaradhera said. “When the tigers were here, everyone took great care of them. No one intended to harm them, while villagers were able to make a living.”

    “If the department can’t nurture them, then bring them back and I’ll take care of them at the temple. I also want to probe into the carcasses to ensure they don’t end up on the black market,” the abbot added.

    Some of the fallen tigers, which are being used as evidence in the wildlife trafficking case, were preserved and are being kept at a research center for further study. The rest of them were buried on site.

    Thanya said experts from Mahidol University are conducting autopsies on the carcasses, with the result expected this week.

    The scandal dates back as far as 1999, when the temple received its first tiger cub from a local. Two years later in 2001, the number had risen to seven before the forestry official seized the animals since the temple had no license to breed them. They were eventually allowed to stay as veterinarian Somchai Visetmongkolchai agreed to be their custodian.

    Over the next 15 years, the tigers bred and the number of animals at the temple rocketed to 147 in 2016.

    Wildlife activists began to raise concerns about mistreatment in 2007 after the temple marketed itself as a tourist attraction to raise funds for feeding the growing number of tigers. The temple ultimately broke into the international spotlight when National Geographic exposed the temple’s involvement in a wildlife trafficking ring in an investigative report published in 2016.

    After years of push back between officials and the temple, the wildlife conservation department raided the temple with a search warrant on May 30, 2016. Inside, they made a gruesome discovery of dead tiger cubs and preserved animal parts, which were believed to be destined for illegal, for-profit breeding and trafficking.

    The 147 tigers were then arduously removed from the temple and kept at two wildlife sanctuaries across Ratchaburi as evidence in an ongoing investigation.

    Despite the raid, there are over 100 animals still living in the temple, which has been reopened as a zoo.

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