Vol. V No. 12 - Saturday March 18, - March 24, 2006
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

7th Thai Elephant Day 2006 stresses the importance of Thai elephant conservation

Corruption in Longan project found to be widespread

200 academics from 25 countries attend international symposium in Chiang Mai

Burmese army anniversary celebration to be held in Pyinmana

Chiangmai citizens light candles for Thai Loves Peace

Ratchaphruek 2006 expected to attract 2 mio visitors

Provincial Commerce Office refuses to increase sugar price

A report on the activities of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce in 2005

Community radio stations around Chiang Rai silenced

Tractors presented to support Puttha Kaset School

Local community and border security seminar

Police increase security in Chiang Mai after Gen. Prem’s house is bombed

Vigilance must be maintained to prevent drug use from spreading

Chiang Mai Resident Alliances call for Shin Corp boycott

Mysterious disappearance of Thai and American Hmongs

Escapee from Chiang Mai prison hides out in Chiang Rai hotel

More than 300 alien laborers apprehended before the election

Conservationist claims over 100 animals have died in Chiang Mai Night Safari

7th Thai Elephant Day 2006 stresses the importance of Thai elephant conservation

Saksit Meesubkwang and Staff Reporters

Little elephants are happy to show off their artistic ability, any day of the year.

Residents and tourists joined in the festivities to mark the 7th Thai Elephant Day at Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai. It was held to stress the importance of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, where breeding elephants by using artificial insemination techniques had succeeded for the first time in Asia.

This year, the main thrust of the activities was to stress the necessity of elephant conservation, because the numbers of Thai elephants was steadily decreasing. Before the opening ceremony got under way, the center’s veterinary research team was presented with a set of instruments used for checking the elephants, by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Chiang Mai University

Chuchat Kanlamphijit, the owner of Maesa Elephant Camp, said that March 13 was designated Thai Elephant Day to highlight the importance of the elephant, that was a symbol of the history and culture of Thailand. The Maesa Elephant Camp had presented five elephants to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang to strengthen their breeding program. He proudly announced, “It gives me great pleasure to report that the center’s research team is keeping up their studies into artificial insemination on elephants and have developed a technique using frozen sperm. Trials of this method started some time ago and if successful, it will be the first time that that elephants have been reproduced this way anywhere in the world.”

The day’s activities attracted a large crowd of around 1000 enthusiastic supporters, including youngsters, residents and tourists. They were able to watch the 70 elephants at Mae Sa camp enjoy a Khan Tok or Sa Tok (buffet) meal and observed the artistic talents of little elephants when they painted realistic pictures of flowers and trees.


Corruption in Longan project found to be widespread

AMLO sequesters property

Saksit Meesubkwang

Inspector-General, Pol. Gen. Seriphisut Temiyawej checking names of those involved in longan corruption.

The Inspector-General, Pol. Gen. Seriphisut Temiyawej headed a posse of around 100 officers from the Anti Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, in Chiang Mai and Lamphun, to seize possessions of persons suspected of being involved in the longan corruption scandal of 2004.

The officers first raided the Pisit Industrial Factory at Tambon Baan Klang in Muang, Lamphun and simultaneously swooped on the Plywood Factory at Tambon Wiang Yaw in Muang, Lamphun. Both were owned by Prasert Phuphisit or Kokao, former president of Lamphun PAO. Property belonging to Kokao’s wife and relatives totaling 23 houses were also searched. Investigations revealed that some possessions had already been removed but the rest were seized and taken to Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 office to be estimated for value.

The Inspector-General disclosed that 3,710 cases of longan corruption that occurred in 2004 had already been prosecuted, separated into 1,368 cases of falsification of documents, 2,284 instances of distortion of figures and 58 other misdemeanors.

Farmers were investigated and found to have sold longan that they did not actually possess and a register in Lee and Thoong Hua Chang districts showed bogus ID cards combined with false names entered in the register. It is alleged this process was carried out with the collusion of officials in the Tambon Agriculture Office’s who knowingly allowed farmers to open bank accounts using the fictitious names in the false register and be paid for longan that they did not own and had never grown. These illegal activities were subsequently found to have occurred at 20 longan purchasing points around Lampuhn and Chiang Mai.

It is claimed this conspiracy to defraud the government was further exacerbated by the collusion of officers of The Marketing Organization for Farmers at each longan purchasing point. Fresh longan cheques received from The Marketing Organization for Farmers, totalling 4,900 cheques worth a staggering 195 million baht were transferred to the accounts of the fictitious farmers and then the cash was withdrawn from ATMs for private use.

Around 150 people were involved in the scam, 13 of them were officers of the Marketing Organization for Farmers, with 117 other officers who had used their positions to create false ID cards for registering the fictitious farmers; and the rest belonging to an illegal network made up of relatives of Prasert Phuphisit. These government officials are to be prosecuted within 30 days after the results of the investigation have been sent to AMLO and the entire possessions of everyone involved in the longan corruption scam have been seized.


200 academics from 25 countries attend international symposium in Chiang Mai

“Towards Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems in Mountainous Regions”

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Hagen Dirksen, Honorary German Consul in Chiang Mai

200 academics from 25 countries worldwide attended the symposium “Towards Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems in Mountainous Regions” held on March 7-9, 2006 at The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Chiang Mai. The University of Hochenheim, Germany, in cooperation with Chiang Mai University, Thailand and Southeast Asia Regional Office of the World Agro Forestry Center (ICRAF) promoted the event. The opening address was given by local identity, Hagen Dirksen, the Honorary German Consul in Chiang Mai.

Twenty percent of the earth’s habitable area is mountainous and these areas are home to over 600 million people. It is a well established fact that mountains both influence the weather; and are affected by the weather, which in turn influences the lives of the people living on them. With global warming and greenhouse gases bringing rapid and violent changes to the earth’s weather patterns, these fluctuations have manifested themselves with sometimes catastrophic results in mountainous regions. Dry seasons are getting longer as temperatures rise around the world. Hotter weather causes snow to melt faster, resulting in torrential run-off in mountainous regions causing soil erosion and mudslides. Mountain agriculture and eco-systems are affected by the quality of the soil which is constantly getting washed away, or leached of all its nutrients by increasingly heavy rainfall during the more prolonged rainy seasons. All this affects the economy, environment and social life of mountain dwellers and widens the economic gap between poor and rich people.

The committees of this seminar have realized these problems, so the academics debated the problems to come up with ideas, using their experience and knowledge of the development of highland communities, to find ways to alleviate the poverty of highland people. These people are highly skilled farmers and horticulturists and produce almost entirely organic produce. Because their communities are in isolated regions they need assistance getting their produce to market. Their culture and traditions are also complex, therefore an international network should be set up to develop agriculture and offer assistance to people who live in highland communities.

Academics from 25 countries worldwide joined the seminar.


Burmese army anniversary celebration to be held in Pyinmana

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

SHAN news agency reported that an Army source revealed that soldiers were preparing to hold a parade on March 27, 2006 in Pyinmana, the new capital city of Burma, to celebrate the 52nd.anniversary of the founding of the Burmese Army.

Recently, the commander of the Burmese army issued orders to each of the 10 divisions and 12 regional armies to send at least 300 smart soldiers to take part in the celebrations. Subsequent to those orders being issued on March 1st, soldiers have gradually assembled in Pyinmana, along with members of the Red Cross and units of Fire Fighting Organizations, who also have been ordered to join the celebrations.

The source added that the venue that was to be used for the army parade was a large municipal area in the center of Pyinmana, that could easily hold 10,000 people. The parade ground was surrounded by buildings housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior, making it impossible for unauthorized persons to witness the proceedings.


Chiangmai citizens light candles for Thai Loves Peace

Saksit Meesubkwang and Preeyanoot Jittawong

Boonlert Buranupakorn Chiang Mai mayor led the Chiang Mai citizens to light candles for Thai Loves Peace.

Phra Thad Doi Suthep Foundation in association with Chiang Mai Municipality and Alliance Network, organized an activity for Chiang Mai citizens to light 9,999 Thai Loves Peace candles at the Three Kings Monument courtyard on March 12.

The purpose of the candle lighting activity was to highlight the municipality’s deep concern about the political situation that was dividing the country at present. They expressed the wish that the country could be more unified, especially as this was the 60th anniversary year of His Majesty King Bhumibol The Great ascending the throne.

The candle lighting ceremony started with 500 monks and novices from seven temples throughout Chiang Mai conducting a religious ceremony and preaching to the assembly. Everybody present jointly prayed for social unity and national calm, especially for a peaceful outcome to the current political turmoil.

The assembly included school and university students, disabled youths and many ordinary residents of Chiang Mai Province; including tourists visiting the Sunday Walking Street. Everybody joined in to simultaneously light the 9,999 candles and silently meditated for two minutes praying for Thai citizens to be in unity, after which, everyone present sang the Royal Anthem. This activity was apolitical and did offer no support or criticism of any particular side, but expressed the wish for all to be in harmony and for the country to be at peace.


Ratchaphruek 2006 expected to attract 2 mio visitors

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Nichapa Yodwee, deputy head of Public Relation and Operation Administrative Office (central) and representatives from four educational institutes.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 is the title of the International Horticultural Exposition that will be held for the first time in Thailand and is designated to be one of celebrations to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol on the occasion of his 60th anniversary of ascending the throne and his 80th year.

The Public Relations office cooperated with four other educational institutes, the Faculty of Mass Communication of CMU, the Faculty of Social Science of Payap University, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Chiang Mai Rajabhat University and the Faculty of Agro-Business Administration of Maejo University. Between them the formulated the public relations plan Ratchaphruek 2006 to persuade Chiang Mai residents to join the event and become hosts for the occasion.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006, is to take place from November 1, 2006 to January 31, 2007 at Tambon Mae Hia in Chiang Mai. The exposition will be open daily for 92 days and it is predicted that around two million people will visit the show.


Provincial Commerce Office refuses to increase sugar price

Saksit Meesubkwang

A sugar agent in Chiang Mai maintaining sugar price announced by Chiang Mai’s committees.

Wairak Walairat, head officer of Chiang Mai Provincial Commerce Office announced that Chiang Mai would not comply with the cabinet’s recent resolution on March 8 to increase the price of sugar, because committees of the province had only just sanctioned a price-rise on March 2. The retail price of pure white sugar stands at 17 baht per kilogram with brown sugar retailing at 16.75 baht per kilogram.

The retail price will be adjusted if a further rise in the sugar price becomes necessary, but for now merchants should maintain the old price that was set on March 2.

If residents find any merchant profiteering by increasing the sugar price unreasonably, they should inform the Chiang Mai Provincial Commerce Office who will send staff to deal with the matter, which will probably result in that person being prosecuted according to the law.

A survey of the Thanin Market found customers buying sugar were decreasing and dessert sellers disclosed that they were reducing the amount of sugar they were putting in their desserts. In the meantime, sugar retailers in Chiang Mai observed that sugar was not short and there was plenty to go round since the price increase.


A report on the activities of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce in 2005

Nopniwat Krailerg

Narong Tananuwat, president of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce reported on the activities carried out by the chamber last year. There were many projects organized to boost the local economy and deal with problems in the community. Measures have been taken to open new markets overseas in GMS countries and Europe. Several Mega projects were set in motion including the SME center and the International Convention and Exhibition Center, the construction budgets for which had already been authorized.

The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce also held seminars for private sector and government organizations concerning property management and software procedures to learn correct software property management methods to prevent software pirating

Several other seminars were held during 2005. One was organized by the Revenue Office of Region 8 entitled Tax Up-to-date 2005 and another was an academic seminar concerned with bringing the local market into the world market. There was also Mobile Stock Exchange 2005 continued from 2002; and an academic seminar about Communication Network and Chiang Mai, to build up relations with overseas countries.

An MOU was signed with the Trade Mission China-Asean Expo for trade association and tourism promotion with China. The chamber also joined the GMS Summit 2005 and Kunming Fair 2005 and made huge progress in learning how to open product markets in that country, that will further benefit business owners. Recently local products, especially OTOP, were promoted in France and an MOU was made between Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce and Lyon, France. Local businesses will be supported as SMEs business; and encouraged to improve their products to reach international standards.


Community radio stations around Chiang Rai silenced

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

From a total of 66 regional community radio stations around Chiang Rai, 48 have been ordered off the air, apparently for infringement of the rules governing local radio broadcasting.

The Public Relations Department Region 3 Chiang Mai Thailand reported that on March 6, 2006 Worachai Uttamachai, Chiang Rai Deputy Governor presided over a conference to consider the applications of 66 radio stations that had requested to register with the Government Public Relations Department. The conference concluded that nine stations should be closed down because they did not follow the rules. Several other stations broadcasting on 14 different frequencies interfered with resident’s TV reception, advertised longer than six minutes, did not operate according to rules governing community radio, and rejected regulations. Only 1-2 community stations complied with all the rules and did not cause any problem. Most of the rogue community radio stations had been set up by businessmen not belonging to the community.

The committees decided to shut down these illegal community radio stations. Nevertheless, they were allowed to appeal the committee’s decision once more with the Government Public Relations Department. They must send documents proving that they are genuine community radio stations and not a commercial station run by businessmen. These documents must be approved and signed by the community headman; and would be checked and verified before the station was allowed to start broadcasting again. Chiang Rai Province has requested Chiang Rai Provincial Public Relations Office, district offices and police to keep an eye on these rogue stations to make sure they comply with the banning order.

It has also been suggested that many of these illegal stations were also not toeing the “party line”.


Tractors presented to support Puttha Kaset School

Nopniwat Krailerg

Phra Chaiyayod Chayayaso, president of Phutta Kaset Foundation received the donation from Wiroj Nuankhae, president of Pattara Credit Co.

Wiroj Nuankhae, president of Pattara Credit Co. and former MD of Krung Thai Bank presented a large tractor, agricultural supplies and a heart pump to the value of 570,000 baht to the Puttha Kaset School in Khun Yuam District, Mae Hong Son. This school is funded by monks and was established to educate needy children.

This equipment was presented to the orphanage through the Phutta Kaset Foundation to enable the children to carry out farming by themselves.

Phra Chaiyayod Chayayaso, president of Phutta Kaset Foundation and abbot of Wat Thai Puttha Tham in Taiwan reported that the foundation was set up 20 years ago. He sponsored a child in the Klong Tuey slums of Bangkok and then realized that other needy children required education and a school should be provided for them. Later, he traveled to Mae Hong Son Province and found 65 rai of unused land in Khun Yuam District that was former mine. He persuaded the owner of the land to donate it and built a shelter for 40 children from the Klong Tuey slums, who had been orphaned by their parents’ activities involved with drug dealing. It was hard at the start because he had no support, but later people participated in the venture to help the children. As well as going to school the children at the orphanage planted vegetables, did farmwork, fed the ducks and chickens and grew mushrooms until they were able to sustain themselves.

The orphanage has grown since its humble beginnings and there are now 200 students in the Phutta Kaset School, all receiving elementary education. Small tractors were originally donated to the school but became unable to cope with the amount of work needed to grow enough crops to feed 200 healthy young children. Last year, the Japanese government donated four million baht to construct a larger school building.


Local community and border security seminar

Saksit Meesubkwang

Lt. Gen. Saphrang Kalayanamit, Commander In-Chief of Third Army Region.

Lt. Gen. Saphrang Kalayanamit, Commander In-Chief of Third Army Region presided over a seminar concerning border security on March 9. The seminar was also attended by Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor and Dr. Peerapong Manakit, secretary of the Army Committee General who gave a lecture on security.

Altogether, around 200 officials from various organizations attended, including representatives of the Third Army Region, administration organizations, the forestry office, ONCB and members of private sector organizations of the six neighboring provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Tak, Phayao and Mae Hong Son.

The seminar lasted for two days, with the main objective to jointly develop and create a strategy for security along the border among the six border provinces. Any such strategy will need the cooperation of local residents living along the border for all concerned to live peacefully.

Gen. Siri Tiwaphan, vice president of Army Committee General said that the security forces primary duty was to prevent illegal laborers and war refugees entering the kingdom as well as dealing with poverty in the border villages and obstructing drug smuggling and human trafficking. The soldiers relied on the honesty and integrity of the local residents to enable them to do their job. Without the cooperation of everyone concerned, security would be overbearing and intrusive, leading to tension and possible tragic fatalities.

Attendants at the seminar


Police increase security in Chiang Mai after Gen. Prem’s house is bombed

Nopniwat Krailerg

After a bomb exploded outside the house of the President of the Privy Council in Bangkok, Commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 commanded his officers to increase security on the PM’s house, including consulates and other important places in Chiang Mai

The residence of Gen. Prem Tinsulanond, President of the Privy Council in Bangkok was damaged when a bomb exploded under a bench outside the front wall of the house. Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 commissioner told reporters that he had assigned his officers to pay particular attention to the residence of Thaksin Shinawatra in Green Valley Village, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai. He had also ordered increased security on 20 consulates and residences of important persons in Chiang Mai, by authorizing more frequent patrols.

He stressed that whilst not anticipating an escalation of violence, the increased security is to prevent the occurrence of unexpected events during the run-up to the election. Many residents wished Thai citizens to keep in unity and not to resort to violence during the election period. But with opposing factions each wanting to express their various points of view, he realized that some hotheads could get a little overexcited and things sometimes get out of hand. He hoped that a strong police presence would keep things calm and allow the election to proceed peacefully.


Vigilance must be maintained to prevent drug use from spreading

Saksit Meesubkwang

All 76 provinces in Thailand need to remain vigilant to prevent drug use from spreading, Wan Mohammad Nor Matha, director of the National Drug Combating Center told officials at a recent seminar.

The seminar, concerning the government’s drug suppression policy 2006, was held at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel in Muang, Chiang Mai on March 11, organized by the Narcotics Prevention and Suppression Office. Wan Mohammad Nor Matha presided over the seminar and informed the 2000 officials from 17 organizations who attended the seminar of the conclusions of the government concerning drug suppression.

He stressed the government had determined a roadmap for keeping an eye on drugs over the next two years from 2006-2008 with the first period of drug elimination from March 1 to August 31, 2006, dedicated to glorifying the king on the occasion of his 60 year anniversary ascending the throne.

Matha reiterated that all 76 provinces of Thailand still need to be vigilant in their efforts to suppress narcotics. Drug suppression officials in neighboring countries have been participating in the effort to control narcotics and have been increasing their efforts to stamp out production sources outside Thailand, whilst sharing information on likely trafficking routes.

He mentioned the problems concerning the many drug addicts who had been put on rehabilitation programs as part of their treatment. Around 20 percent of those undergoing treatment turned to drugs again, but these figures were showing signs of decreasing.

The primary drug being transferred in the Northern region is still ya ba, closely followed by substances for making heroin. These drugs have been passing through Thailand by way of Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai. The usual routes the traffickers use are through Tak, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Phayao, Phitsanulok, Nan and Uttaradit, with the narcotics being carried by women, children, youngsters, alien laborers and hill tribes-people. Ice and ecstasy are becoming the preferred drug of the wealthier drug user, with cannabis and opium tending to spread more among youths.


Chiang Mai Resident Alliances call for Shin Corp boycott

Saksit Meesubkwang

Prof. Chalermphon Samphet, representative of Khon Hak Muang Chiang Mai Alliance revealed that Chiang Mai Resident Alliances, angered by Thaksin’s government policies, are mounting a campaign to persuade the citizens of Chiang Mai and nearby provinces to boycott products of Shin Corp and to request Thaksin Shinawatra to step down from his political role.

The alliances will continue to publicise Shin Corp’s products and encourage citizens to boycott them, despite the fact that doing so might cause inconvenience to some residents; for example to stop using AIS mobile network and use another network instead.

However, the alliances accepted that to boycott Shin Corp products in Chiang Mai and nearby provinces might be difficult because these provinces contain the main voter base of the leader of the Thai Rak Thai party. The campaign to boycott Shin Corp products was started at a rally held on the volleyball field of Chiang Mai University and several Shin Corp products were ceremonially destroyed on that day to highlight the strong feelings against the caretaker PM. As well as refusing to use the AIS mobile network, the protesters were asked not to use the Air Asia service, not to use credit-cards issued by Capital OK Credit and not to buy products from 7-Eleven.

After the rally broke up, some of the more excitable elements in the crowd expressed their feelings towards Thaksin by hurling plastic bags filled with paint over election posters bearing the PM’s picture. Most of this electioneering vandalism was aimed at the large bill-boards at the junction of Huay Kaew-Sirimangkalajarn Road. Nobody was caught in the act and the police have cleverly assumed it was the actions of some group of people who did not like Thaksin Shinawatra.


Mysterious disappearance of Thai and American Hmongs

Nopniwat Krailerg

A distressed Thadpong Phapwiwat informed Pol. Maj. Wisuj Wongyai, duty inspector of San Sai Police Station, Chiang Mai that several members of his family had disappeared from a house at Tambon Nong Han in San Sai District, Chiang Mai on March 2, 2006. They were Yeng Saewang, Jirasak Phapwiwat, Renoo (last name unknown), Decha or To Suwanachat, Sirima or Tee Sinmalanon, La (last name unknown), Paeng (last name unknown) and one person named Yialao Wang holding American nationality.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 assigned a force of investigation officers to look into the matter. They questioned eye witnesses and verified the situation at the address and found evidence of money being deposited in the account of one of the missing persons. They had all disappeared but all their possessions were left behind in the house.

With very little to go on the police followed the paper trail to the point where the missing people had withdrawn money from an ATM; and one theory was put forward that this case might affect the country’s security, because one of the missing persons was holding American nationality, causing the police had to pursue this case with caution.


Escapee from Chiang Mai prison hides out in Chiang Rai hotel

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Drug offender Wuttichai Khayan, 21, resident of Tambon Inthakin, Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai, was being held in custody in Chang Puek Police Station, when he escaped his captors and disappeared. Pol. Capt. Nattawit Rakkaew, deputy investigation inspector of the station headed a posse in pursuit of the absconding felon, who they felt sure would head for Chiang Rai. He was eventually discovered hiding in a room in the Chiang Rung Hotel, Tambon Muang Phan in Phan District, Chiang Rai.

In association with Pol. Col. Kasemsak Surawanit, superintendent of Phan Police Station, Chiang Rai, a police officer pretending to be a maid of the hotel knocked on his room door and said she was a cleaner. When the criminal opened the door, the police immediately captured him. He confessed that he had dealt drugs for a long time, but after he had been first arrested he was afraid of punishment and believed he was going to die, so he planned with his girlfriend to escape from jail and hide out in Chiang Rai. Before being discovered, he had hidden in Chiang Rai for only one week. After his brief seven days of freedom the police returned him to his less comfortable quarters in Chang Puek jail in Chiang Mai, but this time they will keep the cell locked.


More than 300 alien laborers apprehended before the election

Nopniwat Krailerg

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 commissioner disclosed that provincial police of the eight Northern provinces assigned to the task of suppressing labor-supply gangs and other associated illegal activities, commanded by Lt. Gen Saphrang Kanlayanamit, had apprehended 341 illegal Burmese laborers. They had been discovered working as construction employees and some of them had caused social problems and been involved in illegal dealing.

With the new election coming soon, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 has set up an election operation center to check the history of suspected persons and has paid strict attention to illegal movements. He said that illegal laborers take advantage of the election period to try to slip unobserved into the country, believing the attention of the police to be drawn elsewhere. However, the political tension of this election is not so high and the police believed they could control the situation, especially in the Northern region where the population is not so dense and the opposing factions are not so hot-tempered.


Conservationist claims over 100 animals have died in Chiang Mai Night Safari

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

The Coordinator of Wildlife Fund Thailand disclosed the shocking revelation that 104 animals had died in Chiang Mai Night Safari, including the new baby giraffe that was born during Chinese New Year; and its mother. The animals had died because of various reasons, including the stress of transference from their accustomed habitat, overdoses of anesthetics, improper environment, depression caused by stress; and infection of wounds caused by fighting with each other.

Refuting these claims, the director of the safari contended that the main cause of death of the animals was due to the stress caused by the relocation process only; and was not the fault of the safari staff.

Nikhom Phutta, coordinator of Wildlife Fund Thailand disclosed that he had been informed of the details concerning the many animals that had died in Chiang Mai Night Safari from one of his field officers. He said that the officer had informed him that after the safari had imported many animals, they experienced many health problems that caused the animals to die. Those that died were replaced and even those later died, all in all a total of 104 animals from among 21 different species. These numbers were reported on January 8, 2006 and now after two months have passed by; it is not known how many more animals have passed away. Chiang Mai Night Safari has tried to hide this tragic situation regarding the deaths of these animals. It is the opinion of knowledgeable animal conservationists that environment inside the safari is inappropriate for these particular animals. They are housed in cages that are too narrow and the habitat the safari has provided is fundamentally unsuitable for the animal’s requirements, giving rise to stress and mental suffering.

Supoj Methapiwat, director of the safari’s animal management strongly denied these claims, saying that the death of the animals was not the fault of the safari. The animals died because of stress caused by relocation and that was the responsibility of the shippers at source; and it was up to them to find new animals to replace the ones that had died. Commenting on the claim that the safari had allowed animals to fight, he said that one animal had been injured during a fight between two dominant males in the hyena enclosure. He stressed that the fight between the two animals stopped after only a few seconds and the wounded hyena’s injuries were treated by the safari’s veterinary staff. “We take good care of our animals,” he said, “but death is an aspect of nature that we are unable to control; and we are quite open about informing everyone when these unfortunate events occur.”

He went on to say that the mother and baby giraffes’ death was due to the fact that they caught the disease before relocating to the safari; and he strongly felt that whoever had maliciously disclosed this information to the media must have a personal grudge against the safari. The information concerning the dead animals was totally false with the possible exception of the unfortunate deaths of the two giraffes.



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