Hua Hin Safari
& Adventure Park
1st Visit: 22nd Feb 2017
2nd Visit: 11th April 2018
Hua Hin Safari and Adventure Park is a relatively new setup just twenty minutes outside Hua Hin. It is in the middle of some lush countryside, down rather small poorly kept roads and does not seem to get that many visitors. Despite this, the venue is continually breeding and expanding, building new areas for the tigers. The setup is very professional and the place appears managed well on an aesthetic level. There aren't just tigers here however, the park also has elephants for riding and a small zoo containing a giraffe, macaws and various monkeys and gibbons.
First visit: 22nd February 2017
Though the facility offers hands-on interactions with the tigers and a tiger show, the general living conditions of the tigers were better than seen in many other facilities around Thailand. As a starting point, there were enclosures, and each of these held a maximum of four tigers in an adequate space - no overcrowding. There were also not that many cubs - at the time of visiting there was only one very young cub of around two months old, with the others ranging from six months and up.
The enclosures (averaging about 8x12m) each contained grass, a pond, trees and a few logs, though there was not much other enrichment to be found. However, some of the staff would sit in with the larger tigers, interacting calmly (without aggression) and encouraging the tigers to walk about. The tigers themselves seemed to enjoy the interaction, following the staff around and appearing to enjoy their presence. There was nowhere for the tigers to hide from the public but plenty of areas to sit in the shade. Tigers were friendly, social or disinterested when it came to interacting with both non-threatening staff and our researchers. Pacing was observed in some of the older tigers.
Adjoining each of the enclosures were three to four night rooms/lockdown cages measuring around 5x5m. It appeared that one tiger was kept in each cage and a rotation was in place for the enclosures, as some tigers could be observed in the cages while others were outside. There were six enclosures and 23 cages with 12 new cages underway, alongside possible future enclosures.
Most of the tigers were free to roam, however, the tigers used for photos were chained down - at the time of visiting this was seven big cats. In addition, there was also a tiger show where seven tigers and a lion were made to perform unnatural behaviours, such as walking on hind legs and jumping through flaming hoops. This show appeared to be based on the one at Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, though the trainer did not appear as aggressive, nor as threatening. However, the tigers were still stressed out and unhappy in this situation.
There appeared to be a lot of inbreeding, as there were several white tigers, many of whom had crossed eyes. There was also a golden tiger, which staff proclaimed to be one of just three in the country - a fact our researchers knew to be false, having already observed more than that number in Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm alone.
There were also four ligers, which showed the facility was interbreeding species - something that goes against any conservation purposes. One of the ligers was suffering some sort of eye problem, and many of the animals were declawed.
There were good and bad points, but overall welfare was better than at other facilities.
Second visit: 11th April 2018
There was not much change, although the section previously under construction was now complete, adding a further five enclosures to the six already present and a final total of 36 cages. There were still interactive options, cubs, ligers and the tiger show.
The tiger show contained more tigers, including two younger ones who were not completely responding to commands. The trainer was harsher than the year before.
There were more signs of inbreeding, including a cub who, most unusually, had an orange coat but blue eyes. She also had more white on her in the same way that golden tigers do and, very unusually, had a white tail tip.
Response to people was the same with the exception of the tigers in the show, which was markedly worse and more aggressive towards the trainer.
How Many Tigers?
Each area comprised of an outside area and also a hidden den or night room
Each contained a pond for bathing
Enclosures contained grass and other natural vegetation
Only enrichment were logs
No areas to hide from the public when the tigers were locked out of night rooms
All were very clean
Cages are cement floored
Physical & Mental Health
There were a number of white tigers, ligers and golden tigers indicating inbreeding and inter-species breeding was present
Mixed species groupings were kept
Declawing was performed in at least the show animals
Cubs were chained even in the enclosure whilst waiting for tourists
Body condition for most was good
A few eye problems noted - cataract and crossed eyes
Very few observations of any stereotypies of tigers in enclosures though some pacing was observed
Tiger show on the other hand showed the usual fear/distrust of the handler
Other tigers showed friendly, curious or disinterested behaviour
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.