The world’s loneliest gorilla faces another Christmas behind bars after more than thirty years of confinement and isolation.
Bua Noi is a 33-year-old gorilla that has been imprisoned at Thailand’s controversial Pata Zoo for more than three decades.
Despite countless international pleas to get the primate relocated to a friendlier environment, the owners of the zoo have kept the animal isolated in a small concrete cage with barely any space to move around.
As the owner of the zoo insisted back in October, the privately owned gorilla would only be sold for an absurd amount of up to $1 million.
“Bua Noi the gorilla is suffering from extreme psychological distress in the concrete enclosure to which she has been confined alone for nearly 40 years, longer than most Thai people have been alive,” Jason Baker of PETA Asia said.
“This shabby facility is internationally condemned as one of the worst zoos in the world.
“All the animals held captive there are confined to pitifully small, barren enclosures and denied sunshine, fresh air, and opportunities to exercise or engage in behavior that’s meaningful to them.”
While the Thai environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa also intervened and called for the animal to be relocated to a sanctuary, his secretary confirmed that their hands are tied because the gorilla is deemed private property.
“We collected donations from Bua Noi’s supporters. But the problem is that the owner refuses to sell Bua Noi,” the secretary said.
“When he does agree to sell her, the price is too high. Bua Noi is considered private property so we cannot do anything to remove her.
“The owner bought Bua Noi before laws were introduced to prevent the trade and ownership of endangered animals and wild animals.”
Meanwhile, the zoo’s director, Kanit Sermsirimongkol, dismissed animal neglect claims saying Bua Noi’s sad face in just her “natural facial expression.”
“Before opening, we consulted zoologists and veterinarians and only selected animals that were suitable for the zoo. And they have been treated well,” he said.
“The criticism doesn’t concern me because we know her best. Those people saw the picture of her on the internet and assume she’s depressed. But that’s how she looks just like humans – some have a sad face and some have a happy face.”
The director went on to claim that the zoo staff treat the gorilla like their own daughter while saying “it’s not a good idea to immediately release her back into the ‘wild’.”
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