Protesters strip off outside Thai department store that has kept a gorilla on the top floor since 1993
Protesters strip off outside Thai department store that has kept a gorilla on the top floor since 1993

Animal rights campaigners covered in body paint stripped off and held a protest on Monday (November 25) outside a Thai department store which has kept a gorilla on the top floor since 1993.

Three woman from the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wore only their underwear and brightly coloured paint outside the Pata Zoo, which sits on the roof of a grotty shopping mall in Bangkok.

Thirty-year-old female gorilla Bua Noi has been living there since 1993 when she was brought as a toddler aged just three from Germany.

Animal rights groups had hoped she would be released in 2015 after pressure on the owners but the move broke down and Bua Noi stayed in the cage, pulling her hair out and rocking back and fourth with frustration every day.

PETA demonstrators converged on the department store today after allegedly being repeatedly blanked by the owner.

They demand that the animals are ''re-homed in sanctuaries''.

PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker said today (November 25) that Bua Noi was being forced to live in ''horrifying and cruel conditions''.

He said: 'Kanit Sermsirimongkol, Pata Zoo's owner, needs to wake up and realize that there's nothing entertaining about seeing animals suffering in decrepit conditions behind bars.

''If he cared more about animals than pride and profit, he'd allow them to be transferred to sanctuaries, something that PETA has offered multiple times to help with." Olivia Charlton, the protester speaking in the video, said that Pata Zoo was ''one of the worst that we have encountered throughout Asia''.

She added: ''Obviously a department store is not a place for animals to be.

We've tried to speak with the owners many times but there has been no response, so that's why we're here today.'' Pata Zoo is Thailand's only rooftop zoo located on the seventh floor of a grotty department store in the capital, Bangkok.

The indoor zoo holds dozens of species of wild animals including orangutangs, chimpanzees, leopards, reptiles, birds, and the only gorilla in the country, named Bua Noi.

Bua Noi was bought as a baby from Germany for three million baht in 1992 or 1993.

She has stayed in her cage ever since.

In 2015, animal rights activists handed in a petition, which called for Bua Noi's release and the zoo's closure.

Speaking at the time, petition organiser Sinjira Apaitan said: "I don't think animals should be locked up in such unnatural habitats.

I hope to help all other animals being held captive in this high-rise zoo as well." In 2015, officials of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation were alerted to the zoo, which was ordered to close after it was found to lack the correct paperwork.

They ordered the owners to remove the gorilla and other large animals including tigers, leopards, monkeys and apes.

Despite calls at that time for Bua Noi to be released, she stayed inside the zoo - with the owners signing an agreement to take better care of her.

The owner, Kanit Sermsirimongkol and the director of Pata Zoo, said that there is ''no problem'' with all animals living in the rooftop zoo and that Bua Noi's sad look is just her ''natural facial expression''.

He said: ''Before opening, we consulted zoologists and veterinarians and only selected animals that were suitable for the zoo.

And they have been treated well.

''The criticism doesn't concern me because we know her best.

Those people saw the picture of her on the internet and assume she's depressed.

But that's how she looks just like humans - some have a sad face and some have a happy face.

''We have been taking care of Bua Noi like our own daughter.

I know that we will have to find her a suitable new home one day but it's not good idea to immediately release her back into the wild withoutteaching her how to survive on her own.''