THAILAND - Hundreds of zookeepers from across the country yesterday rallied at Bangkok's Dusit Zoo calling for the ouster of their national chief, condemning his "inability" to run the Zoological Park Organisation, which receives a budget from the state of nearly Bt1 billion (S$40 million) a year.
Wearing black T-shirts, 300 zookeepers from seven state-run zoos nationwide - Ubon Ratchatani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Songkhla and Dusit - marched around the grounds of Dusit Zoo.
They called on the Zoological Park Organisation's executive board to sack director-general Sanchai Jullamon over what they described as his inability to efficiently manage the organisation, which has more than 1,500 employees.
Protesters waved banners and shouted "Sanchai get out!"
"We give the executive board 24 hours to issue an order to oust Sanchai," said Boripat Siri-aroonrat, an assistant director of the Bureau of Conservation Research and Education, who led the protesters.
He said this was the first time in the 75-year-history of the Zoological Park Organisation that zookeepers from across the country had stood up to oust their chief.
Boripat said Sanchai, a former head of the legal execution division of TMB Bank, was only able to apply for and be selected as the director-general of the Zoological Park Organisation because the current executive board had revised the qualifications for the position.
Under previous qualification standards, the applicant needed be an organisation deputy director or vice president at minimum; now the applicant must have worked as a government official, state enterprise official or manager.