Sriracha Tiger Zoo owner denies permanent closure, unveils new plans
The owner of Sriracha Tiger Zoo on Sunday disowned a post on its Facebook page that the zoo had shut down permanently.
Sriracha Crocodile Farm managing director Sumeth Panyasakhon, who took over the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi province 10 years ago, said on Saturday that the zoo had been closed for 14 days to comply with the Chonburi Communicable Disease Control Committee's measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
He said the Facebook post by the zoo's managing director on permanent closure was not true, adding he would continue operating the zoo even if the zoo's executives do not want to.
On Friday the zoo's managing director, Wasan Temsiriphong, had posted on its Facebook page that the zoo had closed permanently from Friday after 24 years of operation. He said in the post that the management would hold a meeting with staff on Monday to discuss the reasons for going out of business.
Sumeth, however, unveiled new plans to make the zoo viable.
"We have an idea to renovate the zoo to make it a one-stop tourist attraction, which would include a community mall, restaurants and coffee shops in a bid to attract Thai tourists," he said.
He added that Covid-19 had caused international sales of crocodile products to slump by over 50 per cent, but domestic sales enabled the company to pay salaries to its employees.
He added that the company was offering 70 per cent discount on its products, such as crocodile leather bags, meat and food supplements, to stimulate domestic sales as well.
"After the zoo's Facebook post went viral, we informed the zoo's executives to delete the message," he said.
"We will take good care of the animals and employees until the zoo is able to reopen."
Located in Nong Kham subdistrict, Sriracha Tiger Zoo opened its doors on April 23, 1997. The 250-rai tiger zoo became famous as the largest facility in the world that bred and raised Bengal tigers. The zoo also features talent shows of many animals besides tigers, such as crocodiles, elephants and pigs. There are also exhibition zones for camels, spotted deer, rabbits and more.