Phnom Tamoa Zoo plans to release into the wild the five exotic species they have been treating there since they were rescued three weeks ago from an illegal floating zoo on the Tonle Sap Lake, officials said yesterday.
The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team raided an illegal floating zoo on November 25 in Siem Reap’s Puok district and rescued five long-tailed macaques, civets, various species of birds, five pythons and a leopard cat.
The animals were sent to Phnom Tamoa Zoo on November 26, according to Phnom Tamao Zoo director Nhek Ratanapich.
“We need to examine the animals’ health and isolate them from the others for at least two weeks before releasing them or placing them in captivity with other animals,” he said.
Prum Nol, Forestry Administration Officer Cooperating with Wildlife Alliance, said he received a tip-off from a European tourist who said animals were being “mistreated” at the floating zoo on the Tonle Sap lake.
WRRT then took immediate action to rescue the animals, Prum Nol said.
“Foreign tourists who visited the floating zoo felt the animals were being tortured because some were placed in small cages and others were tied to poles,” he said, adding that the floating zoo owner bought those animals from local people and fed them with the purpose of attracting tourists to visit and buy his souvenirs and drinks.
Prum Nol said he explained to the owner of the zoo that his acts were illegal and the owner voluntarily handed over the animals to WRRT.