Tigers, bear rescued from Phuket zoo shut down after tourist slump

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The last remaining tigers and a bear were rescued from Phuket zoo in Thailand on Tuesday, after the zoo closed last year due to the pandemic.

A lack of tourists plunged the zoo into financial trouble and forced it to shut in late 2021, but several animals were left behind without adequate care.

Altogether 11 tigers and 2 bears needed rescuing, said Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT). The group collected the last three animals on Tuesday.

They will be taken to a wildlife rescue center run by the WFFT in central Petchaburi province as they cannot return to the wild, said Wiek.

Tourism to Thailand suffered an 18-month hiatus due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The country is targeting 5 to 15 million arrivals this year.