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Cute and abused: a slow loris in the hands of a Patong tourist

Patong Animal Abuse: Shock Survey

Saturday, February 23, 2013
PHUKET: Endangered native animals are being exploited on Phuket in greater numbers than ever before, say ''shocked'' members of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand.

Acceptance of kickbacks by local police makes enforcing the law impossible, the organisation says, listing the results of a fresh survey in Patong, on Phuket's west coast.

''Phuket still hell for protected wildlife,'' is the heading on a report that says 23 protected creatures were encountered in one night.

The group says that eight months ago, the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division of the Royal Thai Police, with the Department of National Parks, reported that three touts had been arrested with slow lorises on Patong's Soi Bangla walking street.

''We were further informed that the exploitation of illegal wildlife would not be tolerated by those organisations and local police,'' the foundation says in a statement.

''Unfortunately we received many complaints again in the last two months that the same people were again back on the roads of Patong with lorises, gibbons and other protected wildlife.

''The local police commander of Katu police station [which oversees Patong] however told us by phone last week that these complaints were untrue and that no wildlife was being paraded around.

''After receiving photos taken within this month we decided to go and check out the area ourselves.

''We are shocked to have found an increased amount of animals last night with a total of 23 'protected and endangered wild animals' in total, 19 lorises, two gibbons and two Phayre's Langurs [a small leaf monkey native to SE Asia].

''All were paraded around as photoprops, tourists paying 200-500 baht per photo-session. The loris, gibbon and langur are protected under local laws as well as CITES appendix 1, which prohibits possession, local and international trade.''

The organisation now plans to take its findings to Phuket's Governor, the Department of National Parks and national police.

The group wants ''to stop this practise, confiscate the animals and bring the 'owners' to court.''

According to the report, locals in Patong say police are paid off to allow the animals to be used, although laws prohibit their exploitation.

Reaction among tourists are mixed. Those with a knowledge of animals and the environment shun the touts.

Others from countries where wild animals remain playthings pay for the thrill of handling a cute creature.

Although Phuket is free from rabies, the danger remains of an infected animal being brought onto the island and inflicting a bite or a scratch.

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand ( is a registered foundation under Thai law,which aims at resucing wild animals, educating people about issues, preventing hunting and promoting conservation.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


The 2 Eagles on show at Kata Viewpoint remain there for photo-ops, regardless of what the police says.

I tried to explain to a Danish tourist 2 days ago that these are endagered and protected species and by taking a picture of his wife with them only aggravates the problem. He didn't seem to care and said nothing.

I had to speak in Swedish (which all Danes understand if they want to) because if the bird handler understood what I said, there would certainly be consequences for me.

I would suggest warning signs to be put around known hotspots for animal abuse explaining why and what so tourists would be made aware and hopefully would not endorse this despicable abuse and exploitation.

I would like to hear the excuses of local administration for not agreeing to put up such signs.

Posted by Andrew on February 23, 2013 11:10

Editor Comment:

Aren't there are enough signs competing for tourists' attention already? Doesn't the idea of enforcement work for you?


Enforcement works great for me. Make me a dictator on Phuket for a month and I'll show you law enforcement.

Problem is it does not work at all for or with those already vested with powers of enforcement - the Phuket police and other authorities.

When foreigners were profiting from illegal business activities by selling time share deals, a warning sign went up on Bangla Rd at lightning speed.

Let's see if the same enthusiasm applies when locals are profiting from illegal activity.

Posted by Andrew on February 23, 2013 11:38


Editor the idea of enforcement on Bangla road? If the police commander of kathu is denying that there are animals being paraded around you got to admit there's not much hope. An Ideaa of enforcement is all it will remain, no real action will be taken, same as with almost everything else.

Posted by Chalongian on February 23, 2013 11:38

Editor Comment:

Clearly, the superintendent of Kathu Police Station is being misinformed. Once he has accurate information, enforcement should follow.


Many Thai's would respond - It's the foreigner's fault for being here - this is Thailand, corruption is evil but sadly plagues the developing world. An exception should be enforced for animals but then it is not for humans as we see with the migrants from Burma in some cases being sold as "slaves" All this whilst a few hundred meters away people sunbathe in 5 star hotels. We as humans call ourselves the most advanced on Earth, are we or are we the worst.

Posted by Happy Farang on February 23, 2013 12:25


You're being very kind to the superintendent of Kathu Police Station...
However I do hope for the toughest enforcement on these touts which scares the next generation of touts from coming back. All eyes on the Police now, maybe some of the pressure placed on them would work.

Posted by May on February 23, 2013 14:18


Indeed they are still on Bangla and in growing numbers. Nothing can be done locally because the touts are specifically protected by the lady boy bars on Soi Corcodile and by the boss who runs that soi who is well connected. He pays a lot of money to be left alone. This is the same group that was associated with the recent rescue of trafficked Cambodian children on Bangla.

I have seen the loris touts numerous times in Kata as well, both on the beach during the day and in the bars at night. Each time I take photos of the touts and if I can spot them, the lookouts. I send the pictures to the Endangered Species Protection Unit via the "report endangered species exploitation" link and email on their webpage along with information of when and where the pictures are taken. I have never received a response. Good to see I am not the only one who cares. I think eventually the problem will have to be sorted once enough powerful people lose face.

Posted by Anonymous on February 23, 2013 16:37


Hope you took lots of photos on this investigation with date stamps which would rebutt the commanders comment of no animal exploitation here send them to all the papers and the commander too.

Posted by slickmelb on February 24, 2013 00:59


2 nights ago and the weeks prior all i saw was these poor animals being molestered by tourists sure they are cute but they dont belong in Bangla road, I passed i said this animal belongs in the jungle he basically told me its not true. I spoke to 2 tourist police and they said its hard to police they admitted that if they see them coming they either do the bolt or they stand their ground. I then asked what about informing the police, pointless as the they need the conservation society to be on hand.I really think that the police are on kick back as to everything else in Patong. Something should be done all undercover.

Posted by Alex on February 24, 2013 08:42


Articles like this hopefully make tourists aware not to pay any money to these people. It would be good if perhaps wishfull thinking if adverts were placed on TAT's and other websites saying how cruel this animal explotation is.

Posted by Happy Farang on February 24, 2013 12:24



Fat chance, this forum is preaching to the already converted. The tourists that are most interested in taking photos with these animals come from countries where, like the article states, they are still considered playthings, that is, countries like Russia and China. I would bet the average tourist taking photos of animals in Soi Bangla can't even speak english, much less take part in a forum like this one.

Posted by christian on February 24, 2013 14:00


I am staying at the aspasia hotel resort up the headland between kata and karon beach

The last few afternoons / early evenings have heard a noise from across the road in a building site the sounded like a tiger.

Asked the security traffic attendant directing the trucks and cranes etc, what the hell the news was.

I have seriously never even heard any noise so horrific from an animal of any kind.

He proudly showed me the baby elephant that was being kept in an hut, chain to the floor by all but one leg.

Clearly distressed and angry , but seemed to calm after letting me sooth and eventually stroke and get near him.

He had no food and I tried to feed him a banana, to which the keeper discouraged enourmously.

The baby was being kept their in the heat and melt hungry and thirsty, until it was time to take him around to outside malina or Molina restaurant in kata beach to attract the tourists,

When looking into the elephants eye even with my banana he seemed to not being able to focus on anything, rolling his eyes, glazed over. This would explain only feeling calmer when someone is in physical contact with him.

The car park seemed very proud to have him kept hungry, and claimed his parents had 'died' and he had been saved.

He also said he would be 'happy and awake later' - we all know what that means .
He was rocking around and could barely move due to chains more than 6ft circumference in filth and no food.

The noise was so so loud and stressing and the animal seriously so unhappy to make that growl.

Please check out his treatment and his eyesight etc. the other hotel people with us were disgusted too.

He is only a baby a deserves so so much more.

I can provide you with more details if you need them.

Posted by Lucy Hyde on July 19, 2013 21:37

Editor Comment:

We will check with the Phuket authorities, Lucy.


I have been in Phuket for three weeks and have seen so many touts with these little lorises on Bangla rd and they look frightened out of their minds!!
Last night I saw a tout with a large orange lizard, not sure what type but very exotic looking.
Another disturbing thing noticed on Bangla rd is the ping pong shows offering to see the girls pull turtles, mice, birds and god knows what else out of areas they damn well shouldn't be! It is a disgrace and inhumane.
I am mortified to think that any westerner would actually pay money and support such a thing. It needs to be stopped.

Posted by Anonymous on September 26, 2013 15:06


There is still 2 eagles tied to a car at kata view point - something must be done! Aswell as all the baby elephants on the way to big buddha with no food / water! Please help!

Posted by Hesmari Oosthuizen on November 20, 2013 19:28


I know it's probably pointless as there is already people complaining and it hasn't worked but just walked down bangla road and saw this tiny baby loris scared as all hell and made me so sad and angry I wanted to rip it from the d****heads arms and take it somewhere safe!! :( where can u complain offically? Thanks

Posted by Cass on November 27, 2014 19:57

Editor Comment:

''Superintendent Jirapat volunteered his personal number - 081 6436713 - for residents or tourists to call if more lorises or iguanas are spotted in Patong.''

Monday June 25, 2018
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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