A team of animal experts has visited Kampot’s controversial Teuk Chhou zoo to treat animals who are malnourished and in poor health while negotiations on improvements to the menagerie continue.
Nick Marx, wildlife rescue director at the NGO Wildlife Alliance, said yesterday that his organisation had worked closely with Nhem Thy, the animal technical expert at the state’s Forestry Administration, on Tuesday to provide food and medicine to animals that they feared would die before conditions could be improved.
A visit to the zoo last month by The Post gave a first-hand account of the poor treatment of the animals, who appeared malnourished and had little access to food or clean water.
The account sparked interest from the NGO community and prompted zoo owner Nhim Vanda, who is the Vice President of Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management, to ask for external assistance.
“We’re hoping we will be able to help [Nhim Vanda] with his animals, but while negotiations are taking place certain animals were treated as soon as possible ... We didn’t want to lose any of them,” Marx said.
He added that they treated a young male lion that had a festering wound on his back leg with antibiotics and stitches.
A wild boar and a “very sick” gibbon were also helped before the team left medicine behind for the staff to administer.
“There are some wonderful animals. There’s potential for a great conservation initiative with well-cared for animals in nice enclosures if the money is available. Everybody only wants a good outcome,” said Marx.
Nhim Vanda said yesterday he was unaware the visit had taken place.
“I did not know that members from Wildlife Alliance came to my zoo in Kampot because right now I am staying in Oddar Meanchey province to rescue the displaced people there,” he said, adding that he appreciated the work the NGO had done and hoped to meet with them soon to discuss the next step in improving the zoo.
“I do not have enough money to support my animals’ food and improve their living conditions in the zoo. So far, I am still looking for help and financial support from other NGOs,” he said.