Thai zoo forces chimp to ride bike, spray park with coronavirus disinfectant
Disturbing footage from a zoo in Thailand shows a chimpanzee forced to sanitize the facility from the coronavirus.
The clip from the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo near Bangkok, obtained by The Sun, captures the poor primate — wearing a surgical face mask, denim shorts and an orange Hawaiian shirt — pedaling a kid’s bike with a disinfectant tank strapped to the back.
Animal rights group PETA slammed the zoo and called the treatment of the chimp “heartbreaking.”
“Places like Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo are hellholes where animals like this chimpanzee endure miserable lives in captivity every single day,” PETA Asia spokesman Nirali Shah told the outlet. “They are routinely mistreated and know little more than chains. When they’re not used for human ‘entertainment,’ they are held in cramped cages.”
PETA has lodged an official complaint with Thai police, urging them to inspect the zoo.
But farm director Uthen Yangpraphakorn claimed there was no monkey business — employees were simply giving the ape some exercise during a quiet time at the zoo.
“We have been closed since the government orders about the virus, so in the meantime, we do not have much to do,” Yangpraphakorn told the outlet. “We clean the place two or three times a week in case the government will allow us to re-open, so we are ready to start accepting visitors again. The chimp was also trained in the farm so we just brought him out to let him stretch his limbs during this inactive period.”
Animal rights investigators say the zoo is notorious for mistreating animals — as some were beaten with bamboo stricks last year, bears are kept in filthy pools and crocodiles are malnourished, The Sun reported.
Last December, footage emerged of a painfully thin elephant forced to perform tricks for onlookers, according to the report.
A total of 2,672 coronavirus cases and 46 deaths have been reported in Thailand.
The country has taken strict enforcement measures, including closing zoos and other businesses, banning passenger flights, prohibiting alcohol and cancelling its annual Songkran Water Festival — the world’s largest water fight.
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