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Pattaya Daily News

28 April 2011 :: 15:04:23 pm 53322

Polar Project Proceeds Despite Protests

Chiang Mai Zoo will proceed with its controversial Polar World project despite the opposition from animal rights activists and environmentalists.
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The zoo has almost completed building the 71 million Baht polar bear dome, in anticipation of increasing the number of visitors.
The director of the zoo, Tanapattara Pongpamorn stated that the project, which was a worthwhile investment, had strictly adhered to international animal welfare guidelines.

Under the project, the zoo will import two polar bears and some king penguins from other international zoos. The dome is now 30% complete and the work will continue on the 2,909 square-metre arena over the next two years, Tanapattara explained.

The zoo director disregarded environmentalists’ concerns that the conditions in the zoo will harm the polar animals.

“We have done everything to follow the Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s guidelines, especially on natural habitats,” he said.

“We have a life support system in case of emergencies, together with plans to reduce the animals’ stress in a new environment.”

Chiang Mai zoo has been consulting with other zoos that have had experience in accommodating polar bears such as in Russia and Canada as well as Safari World in Bangkok, where four polar bears are kept.

However, environmentalists were concerned about the electricity required to run the air-conditioned dome.

The electricity bill would be around 200,000 Baht per month, Tanapattara said.

Veterinarian of the polar bears, Kannikar Nimtragul, believes the project is an effective way to save the species from extinction as their natural habitat is threatened by climate changes.

Meanwhile a group of wildlife activists and the public protested at Chiang Mai Zoo, where a petition was submitted to the zoo director urging him to end the project that had violated animal rights.

A tiny white polar bear in porcelain made for the zoo by a Chiang Mai firm is being sold on the Internet for 360 Baht each.
Polar bears living in confined spaces are prone to suffer from depression, Nikom Phutta, the Secretary-General of Thai Wildlife Protection Network commented.
“Polar bears in a Singaporean zoo have reportedly developed heat stress,” he said.
The temperature of 18-22 degrees inside the dome would be too hot for the polar animals whose habitats are in icy conditions, according to Nikom.

Nikom also urged the zoo to abolish the polar animal project and invest the money in wildlife conservation.

Report By: yahoo

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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