The Pata department store in downtown Bangkok has some good bargains on cheap clothing and fake Rolexes on the first five floors; it's on the sixth and seventh floor where there are over 200 species of animals getting a raw deal. The star attraction is "King Kong," a depressed gorilla who spends his days sitting by the bars of his depressing concrete enclosure.
King Kong isn't the only solitary animal, or the only depressed one. There is a penguin who lives alone with his kiddie-pool size tub of water, now that the rest of his family is dead. Deer who should be galloping through fields lay curled up in small cells. One of the most active animals in the zoo is a tiger who paces all day, a classic sign of an animal driven crazy by captivity. Bears are made to stand up and beg for food, monkeys are forced to wear dresses and have knife fights in front of shoppers taking a lunchtime break. (If you want to watch the sad footage shot by the Guardian U.K., you can find their video here.)
As dismal as the Pata zoo is, what might be worse is the fact that they aren't breaking any laws. The animals, including the endangered species, were all obtained legally and there are no regulations to dictate the size or conditions of their prison.
Let Thailand tourism officials and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation know that you are appalled by the Pata zoo, and urge them to help shut it down and get the animals released to sanctuaries.
The animals at the Pata zoo are deprived of their natural environment and social behaviors. The zoo is also unsafe for the animals; if there's a fire, they will all perish, as has happened at other indoor zoos.
I understand that Thailand is becoming increasingly conscious of animal welfare concerns, but the conditions at the Pata zoo are internationally recognized as unacceptable, cruel treatment of animals. I urge you to do everything in your power to help shut down the Pata zoo and get the animals released to sanctuaries, where they can have companionship and freedom. Please show the world your compassion for animals.