CHONBURI, Thailand, August 5 – The sound of the penguins’ feet rocking sounded Thursday at an empty zoo in Thailand as a parade of birds waddled out of their enclosure for their daily splash in a swimming pool to keep them safe healthy during a COVID-19 lockdown.
Thailand is battling its largest coronavirus outbreak to date and has introduced strict movement restrictions that have seen many public places, including zoos, closed.
“I noticed they felt a bit confused because when they come out there are usually a lot of people waiting for them,” said Tossapol Kosol, penguin specialist at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo, just outside. outside of Bangkok, the capital of the Southeast Asian country.
“Now when they go out and there’s no one here, sometimes they stop to look around, like they’re wondering where all the people have been,” he said.
Over the past year, Tossapol and his colleagues at the zoo have had to find ways to exercise the animals despite the lack of visitors.
After feeding the 41 penguins 55-pound mackerel, Tossapol and his colleagues walk the penguins in unison along a long walkway that leads from their air-conditioned enclosure to an outdoor pool for exercise.
Zoo director Tawin Rattanawongsawat said that while he was unable to accept visitors – most of whom would have helped feed the penguins in normal times – life at the zoo had to find a way to continue. , for the well-being of its animals.
“There are no visitors these days, so they are rather fed by their caregivers,” he said. “They must ask themselves why are they always the same faces, where are the children and their parents?
“They must be a little lonely. ”