7th Thai Elephant Day 2006 stresses the
importance of Thai elephant conservation
Saksit Meesubkwang and
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 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
Pol. Gen. Seriphisut Temiyawej checking names of those involved in longan
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
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”
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.
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
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
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
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
agent in Chiang Mai maintaining sugar price announced by Chiang Mai’s
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
at the seminar
Police increase security in Chiang Mai after Gen. Prem’s house is bombed
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
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
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
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
Chiang Mai Resident Alliances call for Shin Corp boycott
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
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
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
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
More than 300 alien laborers apprehended before the election
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
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.