Orangutans and chimpanzees in Thailand given face masks amidst haze crisis

An orangutan and chimpanzee receive face masks after suffering from the smog caused by forest fires in Southeast Asia.

The animals at the zoo in Songkhla province, southern Thailand, have been affected by the haze which has drifted over from Indonesia.

The footage shot yesterday (September 23) shows orangutan Nancy, 30, receiving her face mask along with chimpanzee Joi, 20, at the Songkhla Zoo.

Zookeepers said that the animals are suffering from the poor air quality caused by the forest fires.

Zoo boss Chalermwut Kasetsoon said: "People are suffering a lot by the haze but at least they know how to protect themselves.

"These animals are breathing the same air with humans and they cannot do anything about it.''

Zoo staff said they will spray water all over the zoo to ease the toxic concentration of particles in the air.

Doctor Supat Hasuwankit, a doctor at Chana district hospital in Songkhla province, blamed companies which invested in palm oil plantations in Indonesia for being responsible for forest fires.

He claimed they use poor local people as their tool to encroach into the forest as the first step, then wait for the arrival of the dry season to set the forests on fire and then ask for the Indonesian government’s permission to use the land for their palm oil plantations.

Crop burning on the Sumatra and Kalimantan islands has caused deadly levels of smog and particles which have travelled thousands of miles.

In southern Thailand the air quality this week reached dangerous levels of 181 on the Air Quality Index, according to the Air Visual website.