Thailand’s Zoo chief shot dead during albino deer probe

SONGKHLA (BERNAMA) – The Director-General of Thailand’s Zoological Park Organisation, Suriya Saengpong, was shot dead by an official of the Songkhla Zoo while he was investigating the disappearance of albino barking deer at the zoo, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

Suriya was shot at the zoo in the southern province while he was probing the missing of two young albino barking deer from their living quarter on Friday.

Police of the Muang Songkhla station were investigating the crime. The Zoological Park Organisation transferred Director of the Songkhla Zoo Chalermwut Kasetsomboon and three other officials to its headquarters pending the investigation of the deer case. After the shooting, the gunman, one of the four transferred staff killed himself in the zoo’s staff accommodation, 300 metres away from the crime scene.

He was identified as Poowadol Suwanna, a veterinarian and head of the zoo’s Conservation, Research and Animal Health division.

Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jatuporn Buruspat expressed condolences towards the family of Suriya.

Officials had yet to investigate if the murder resulted from the transfer or the disappearance of the deer. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa was informed of the incident and ordered full compensation for the family of the dead. The board of the Zoological Park Organisation was investigating the incident and would report its findings to the minister.