Thailand’s ‘Safari World’ open zoo and leisure park is among many places that have been damaged by floods. Although the damage doesn’t cover its entire area, the site was finally closed temporarily due to all the inconveniences the floodwaters have caused.
Located in Klong Sam Wa district in northeast Bangkok, Safari World received overflowing water from Klong Sam Wa on Thursday night. The flood covered almost half of the zoo and park premises of some 500 rai of land, blocking all roads visitors use to watch the wildlife.
Almost the entirety of ‘Safari Park’, an open zoo, occupying the periphery and accounting for 50 per cent of Safari World, has been engulfed by floodwater of about one metre deep, while ‘Marine Park’, inside the complex, which occupies the rest of the area is still dry and has remained above water.
As a result of the flood, some animals from the open zoo, such as giraffes, rhinoceros, and zebras were moved to higher ground there, while others were relocated to temporarily be ‘housed’ in the Marine Park area, where the ground is about 1.5 metres higher.
The attempt to save the Marine Park by putting up sandbags, installing water pumps along with other measures is because the value of animals’ lives is beyond calculation, whereas the machines used for looking after marine life are worth about Bt400 million.
Zoo executive vice president Litti Kewkacha said Safari World was prepared to deal with floodwaters and believed the situation will not worsen, as the water level has not risen.
Animal feeds are in stock to last for up to two months, and so far the animals there are still healthy, Litti said, despite the fact that their jam-packed living condition in the dry space can affect their health.
However, he insisted he would not move his animals to other places, for he cared for the animals’ well-being and was concerned that tools and equipment used to look after animals elsewhere would not be as of good quality as those at Safari World.
“Although other areas can provide shelter for these animals, some of them can’t live together because of their nature; for example, giraffes. This is their home. Safari World’s giraffes can’t live with giraffes from somewhere else. You’ll need to build stalls for them anyway,” said the zoo executive vice president.
“Animals feel like us humans, and they can be even more stressed when living outside their homes,” Litti said.
Many employees are affected by the flood as well. They have moved to stay at the zoo’s office temporarily.
During this crisis, initial revenue losses are estimated at Bt150 million from the service closure. The figure hasn’t yet included the lives of animals and the cost of replacing trees.
Safari World opened in 1988 and receives visitors from all over the world. It houses over a thousand of wild fauna and other animals from around the world at Safari Park, during normal situations, while the Marine Park has about 60,000 marine creatures and 10,000 birds.
Shares for the open zoo and leisure park were listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in 1995 to become the first and only park listed on the country’s bourse.