Chiang Mai Night Safari
Chiang Mai Night Safari is situated 30 minutes outside of Chiang Mai. It is only open from around 5pm and offers a range of activities to see a large number of different animals. It is a strange amalgamation of improvements, modern ideas and old-school entertainment. The tigers residing there have varying levels of welfare depending on which section of the park they are part of, as there is a zoo zone comprising of small cages and various shows and a safari zone with large natural enclosures and free-roaming animals.
1st Visit: 6th March 2017
2nd Visit: 21st April 2018
First Visit: 6th March 2017
The zoo section houses tigers in glass-fronted indoor enclosures. These are about 8x5 metres and each have two to three small 4x4-metre night cages/dens at the back for the tigers to retreat to. During the day, they appear to be locked out of these areas in order to be on display, leaving the tigers with no place to hide from visitors. The enclosures here are concrete-floored but have rocks and cave features created inside. There is no natural vegetation and it is assumed that the rooms are all air-conditioned. Water was available for the most part, though not in all areas. This section also holds a cub nursery. There were four- to five-month-old cubs present, who could be fed pieces of chicken for an extra fee.
There are two separate shows in the zoo zone. The first is a mixed animal show that involves clicker training of the animals and has no humans involved. The animals, including three tigers, perform a series of natural behaviours, demonstrating climbing, jumping and swimming skills.
The second show is labelled the "White tiger" show and is a more traditional offering, making the tigers jump on their hind legs, stand on balls, roll over and jump from wheeled platform to wheeled platform. Handlers hold small whips and the tigers seem stressed around them. They also appear to be de-clawed.
Body condition of all tigers in this area was adequate, however, the tigers did seem stressed or disinterested and many in the cages were pacing. Though staff were present, no one stopped visitors from banging on the glass windows.
The Safari Zone has a number of large enclosures with each subspecies of tiger separated. Golden tigers and white tigers are also separated in this fashion, giving the impression they are separate subspecies.
Each enclosure looked to be about 200 square metres and was complete with natural vegetation, platforms, cave areas and ponds.
Tigers here had adequate body conditions and, for the most part, appeared much more relaxed, though some pacing was noted. This could have been due to the fact that the tiger was stressed by the arrival of the train.
Second Visit: 21st April 2018
Nothing much had changed since the first visit. Cages and enclosures remained the same, as did the welfare levels of the tigers. The only change of note was in the "White Tiger" show, which now comprised of lions as well as more tigers than before. One was a young tiger, possibly about 18 months old, who appeared unfazed by the entire proceedings and was treated fairly well by the handler.
Once again, staff appeared unhelpful or did not know the exact number of tigers residing in the venue.
How Many Tigers?
There were multiple different caging/enclosure areas
Safari zones were large and spacious containing plenty of natural enrichments
Display exhibits were glass fronted. Fronts contain rock formations, ponds and attempts at a natural environment. Tigers could retreat to the lockdown room at the back though this area can also be seen by the public
Lockdown rooms were concrete floored and bare
No grass or natural vegetation in any of the display areas
Water was provided
Areas for tiger shows were well designed in terms of creating a natural environment, however it is unknown what their living/night quarters look like
Physical & Mental Health
White and golden tigers demonstrating possible inbreeding
Tigers in the 'White Tiger' show were declawed
Tigers in the 'White Tiger' show clearly thirsty
Body condition - good
A few tigers seen pacing though the park is only open at night and could be due to oncoming feeding hours
Some tigers were made to perform unnatural tricks with a handler, which they were clearly uncomfortable with
What we are doing to help
At this time we are raising awareness for the situation of the captive tigers in Thailand through education of the public and through a number of different petitions.
Head to our Petition zone to see how you can help.