Foreign Vets Help Snake Hunt in Flood-hit Thailand
BANGKOK - Two vets from Singapore were to arrive in Bangkok on Tuesday to help capture snakes and other roaming reptiles in flood-stricken Thailand, a global zoo body said.
The experts from Wildlife Reserves Singapore would bring medical supplies and equipment such as nets for catching snakes and crocodiles to assist their Thai colleagues, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) said.
Thailand's worst floods in half a century, triggered by months of unusually heavy monsoon rains, have left at least 562 people dead and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods, while animals have also been affected by rising waters.
Experts have warned of the increased risk of snake bite as the creatures, like people, evacuate from flooded areas they normally live in such as drainpipes, while crocodiles have also reportedly escaped from inundated farms.
Thai authorities are offering a financial reward for each of the crocs caught dead or alive.
In Bangkok, where waters have started to recede, only Dusit zoo was located in the pathway of the floods, said Pimuk Simaroj of the Thai Zoological Park Organisation in WAZA's statement.
Most of the animals from there have been moved to higher ground within the park, while about 30 animals, mostly deer, were relocated to another nearby zoo.
"As the flooding continues to spread to lower elevations, we believe there will be more translocations of wildlife needed in the coming weeks," said Pimuk.
WAZA, which arranged the relief action and whose members include more than 1,300 of the world's leading zoos and aquariums, said it was ready to send more assistance from regional countries to Thailand if it is needed.
Thailand's natural resource ministry has dedicated a hotline for people wanting to report wild animals on the loose in flooded areas.
Image: Andy Nelson / via Flickr