A lemur on my keyboard - Thai girl plays for animals in deserted zoo

KHAO KHEOW, Thailand (Reuters) - Dressed from head to toe in a bright green alligator costume, a girl was playing a tune on her keyboard in a Thai zoo, unfazed by a lemur climbing onto the instrument.

It was the latest in an unusual series of outdoor recitals at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, southeast of Bangkok, by 11-year-old Seenlada Supat, who says she wants to keep the animals company while visitor numbers are low due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

“I’m playing music to soothe the animals to help them feel relaxed and give them company so they are not too lonely,” she told Reuters.

She said her voluntary weekly zoo performances were giving her a chance to practice before a live audience and overcome stage fright. “I wanted them to be involved with me while I’m playing music,” she said, adding that it wasn’t a problem when an animal jumped on her keyboard, like the curious lemur. “I don’t mind, it’s as if they’re playing music with me too.”

As well as ring-tailed lemurs, her audiences have included meerkat, hippos, zebras and a range of other animals.

Zoo director Tawin Rattanawongsawat said Supat’s recitals were being well received.

“We noticed that the animals were reacting,” Tawin said. “They became curious while others appeared to be enjoying the music.”

Writing by Juarawee Kittisilpa and Martin Petty, editing by Estelle Shirbon