Gland, Switzerland, Tuesday 15 November 2011 (WAZA): After the heavy flooding which has affected nearly the whole of Thailand since beginning of November, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has coordinated flood relief measures within the region. To date, help is provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and additional help is being prepared by Zoos Victoria in Melbourne, Oceans Park, Hong Kong and Malaysian zoos. Today two vets from Singapore are arriving in Bangkok, bringing urgently needed drugs and other equipment.
Beginning in late July and continuing for over three months, the floods have caused 506 reported deaths by early November, affected over 2.3 million people, and caused damages estimated at up to 156.7 billion baht (5.1 billion USD) as of 18 October.
The flooding has inundated about six million hectares of land, over 300,000 hectares of which is farmland, in 58 provinces. It has been described as the worst flooding yet in terms of the amount of water and people affected.
“Luckily, only Dusit Zoo in Bangkok is in the pathway of the flood. We have made preparations by moving approximately 30 of our hoof stocks to Khao Kheow Open Zoo and the rest of the animals to higher grounds within the zoo. As the flooding continues to spread to lower elevations, we believe there will be more translocations of wildlife needed in the coming weeks” says Mr. Pimuk Simaroj of the Thai Zoological Park Organization.
In order to be able to help, about 30 items, which are urgently needed, have been listed, ranging from anesthetics, to injection needles and nets for capturing snakes and crocodiles. In an unbureaucratic manner emergency relief action could be organized within the wider Asian region. Two vets from Wildlife Reserves Singapore will bring drugs, an anesthetic machine and other equipment such as snake hooks and nets, and also assist their Thai colleagues on the spot to capture escaped reptiles and provide medical care. “In times of increased natural disasters, it is of utmost importance to cooperate within a global community and provide mutual support and assistance, I thank all our member zoos and other partners like Thai Air for their immediate support”, says Dr Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA.
“WRS, as a member of WAZA and SEAZA, is happy to extend assistance in the form of medical supplies and vet resources to our neighbouring partners on the Flood Relieve Mission for wildlife rescue. We will continue to assess the situation together with the Thai conservation groups, and determine further levels of assistance needed. In the meantime, WRS is committed to wildlife research and conservation especially for Asia,” says Isabella Loh, Director and Group CEO of WRS.