THE director of the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand under Royal Patronage was shot dead in southern Songkhla province this morning (Oct. 3) while on a visit to investigate the disappearance of an albino barking deer, a Royally bestowed species, Thai Rath newspaper reported.
It was later revealed that the visiting director, Mr. Suriya Saengphong, was shot dead at an office within Songkhla Zoo by a veterinarian who worked there. The vet then used the same pistol to shoot himself dead at his home.
The missing albino barking deer is greatly valued as an offspring of a natural male one found in Mae Sot district of Tak province In 2002.
This white deer, a very rare albino breed being the world’s first with red iris, was presented to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother who named him Petch and kept him at Dusit Zoo.
It is the origin of several more of his kind, kept at various zoos in Thailand.
Albino barking deer are the same as ordinary ones with the difference being their white coat. They live around 15 years and start breeding at the age of one and a half, having one offspring at a time after six-month pregnancy.
Their habitat is widespread in South and Southeast Asia ranging from Sri Lanka, India, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Hainan and Sunda islands.
Top: One of the albino barking deer, a Royally bestowed species, at a Thai zoo.
The director who was shot dead this morning, first below, and the veterinarian who killed him and then himself, second below. Photos: Thai Rath