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  1. #1
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    Dusits Zoo 69th anniversary

    Baby orangutan shows bicycle riding during a press conference held at the Dusit Zoo Thursday to announce its 69th anniversary celebration. The zoo will turn 69 years old on Sunday and the celebration is held on Saturday and Sunday.

    The Nation

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    The Pikey Hunter
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    I hear Stroller's organizing a barbeque event there.

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    Dusit Zoo Creature Comforts, 69th Anniversary

    DUSIT ZOO CREATURE COMFORTS, 69TH ANNIVERSARY
    Tasty sweet treats help animals stay healthy



    APINYA WIPATAYOTIN

    You might be tempted by the muffins, assorted cereals, raisin buns, pumpkin bread and cookies, but don't invite the anger of the animals at Dusit Zoo by eating any of them. The range of sweet treats is designed to supplement their diets. ''Chimpanzees like muffins, langurs go for cookies and elephants love their bread. They look really happy eating what human beings like to eat,'' said zoo baker Nuntanit Kulcharoen.

    Ms Nuntanit, who is also a zoological expert, said she started her research on suitable nutrients for primates in July last year. She uses various ingredients to make healthy supplementary foods, including pumpkins, raisins, nuts, sesame, cereals, vegetables and syrup.

    ''We thought the animals might be malnourished if they eat the same kind of food every day so we decided to open a healthy bakery to produce their supplementary food. It was an easy thing to do because I used to have a small bakery shop. Unfortunately, that had to close. So now my clients are primates instead of people,'' she said.

    Primates require more calcium than phosphorus, she said. Most eat bananas, which is a good source of phosphorus, as a main course. So the supplementary food contains calcium from sesame and other ingredients to create a balance.

    Using her own recipes, Ms Nuntanit mixes 50% vegetables, 30% fruits and 20% powder in her special bakery. The food is served to the primates twice a week.

    Her research started with them because their biological structure is not much different from that of people. Next year, she plans to produce supplementary food for tigers, snakes and other reptiles. This might take the form of sausages.

    Visit Wichasilpa, a director of Dusit Zoo, said this is a pilot project to celebrate the zoo's 69th anniversary with an attempt to provide healthy food for the animals.

    ''We want all our family members to have good health so we decided to introduce the project. Although we have the burden of additional costs, I think it is worth making them healthy. If our project goes very well, we plan to introduce it to other zoos in the country,'' he said.

    However, Dusit Zoo does not have a large bakery. There is only one oven to bake sweets for the animals, and only three staff doing the work. To expand production, it would need more equipment to support four other zoos nationwide.

    Otherwise, each zoo might have to bake its own sweets and cakes under the guidelines laid down by Ms Nuntanit's research. This would depend on the policy of the Zoological Park Organisation.

    Dusit Zoo was established in 1938 during the reign of King Rama IV. Currently, there are more than 1,600 animals, both native and foreign, and the zoo welcomes over 2.5 million visitors a year.

    However, the government plans to relocate the zoo and turn the area into a public park instead.

    Sophon Dumnui, director-general of the Zoological Park Organisation, admitted there has not been much development on the issue. No suitable site has been selected for the new location.
    ''The government doesn't have its own land for a 300-rai zoo. It means we have to buy it from the private sector, which will probably make the cost rocket over one billion baht. So it will take time to reach a solution on the issue,'' he said.

    Bangkok Post

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    Dusit Zoo

    A zoo official feeds water to a one-month-old bear cub that was thirsty due to the heat at the Dusit Zoo on Saturday. The zoo organised a party to celebrate its 69th anniversary.

    Photo by Prasert Thepsri
    The Nation


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