Store says ‘Free Bua Noi’ message won’t be erased until perpetrators are caught
Pata Zoo has offered a 100,000-baht reward for information leading to the arrest of vandals who spray-painted “Free Bua Noi” across the storefront above the main entrance of the Pata Department Store in Bangkok.
The incident occurred last Monday, and the zoo on Friday declared it was the last straw. The graffiti attack follows what it called unfair criticism of its care of the 33-year-old gorilla Bua Noi by activist groups going back two decades.
The store will now take legal action against those who wrongly attack its treatment of the animal, the zoo said.
It said that over the years, many domestic and international activists had defamed the zoo, which occupies the sixth and seventh floors of the department store building. Some had published photos of Bua Noi in her cage on the seventh floor, which the zoo said misrepresented its treatment of the animal and her state of mind.
Some wildlife conservationists had misinformed school children that Bua Noi was tormented and asked them to support the “Free Bua Noi” movement, the zoo claimed.
Bua Noi was in the spotlight again last October when reports emerged that the government wanted to negotiate to purchase the gorilla for 30 million baht and relocate her to more salubrious surroundings in Germany, where she was born in 1990. Pata denied the reports and said Bua Noi was not for sale.
As a registered entity under the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the zoo said its business was regularly assessed and inspected by the department itself.
“Bua Noi will certainly face a lower standard of life if released back into the wild,” Pata Zoo said.
The zoo would keep the graffiti until police catch the group responsible. It resumed full operations on March 3 after a one-year renovation.
Bang Yi Khan police said on Saturday that CCTV showed five suspects arriving on three motorcycles before parking opposite the mall and going on to graffiti the signage. Police have seized spray paint cans left at the scene.