Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, Mr. Jocelyn Timmermans, Thai Honorary Consul in Antwerp and DCM Mr. Sarun Charoensuwan were invited by Mr Rudy Van Eysendeyk, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp for a visit at the Planckendael Zoo in Muizen (Mechelen).
This Society was founded in 1843 and is responsible for 5 institutions: Antwerp Zoo, Planckendael Zoo, the Queen Elisabeth Concert Hall, a Serpentarium at the seaside and nature reserve ?De Zegge?. In addition, this Society plays an important role in conducting scientific research on animals and nature conservation. The Antwerp Zoo and Planckendael Zoo, which are open 365 days/year are popular tourist attractions in Belgium with over a million visitors each year.
In 2011, the baby elephant Kai Mook, born in the zoo of Antwerp last year, together with 4 other female elephants will get a new place to stay in the Planckendael Zoo, The birth of Kai Mook generated a lot of public interest and helped raise funds which will be used to support projects for Asian elephants, including a project in Kerela in India to protect the elephant corridor.
At present, Planckendael zoo, which is popular among families and children, is divided into 5 areas representing the 5 continents with animals from each continent. In order to welcome Kai Mook and her family members, the zoo is planning to create a ?Southeast Asian area? for the elephants to stay. The zoo has asked the Royal Thai Embassy for collaboration in this project, including the design of the mentioned area to reflect architectural heritage of Thailand. Ambassador Pisan expressed appreciation and willingness to collaborate and he is hopeful that a genuinely Thai permanent structure could fit in, marking a long and cordial tie of friendship between Thailand and Belgium before 1 million visitors to Planckendael annually.
To mark the first birthday of Kai Mook, the Antwerp zoo is planning a big celebration in May 2010.