1st Visit: 19th Aug 2016
2nd Visit: 12th March 2017
3rd Visit: 13th April 2018
Korat Zoo, also known as Nakhom Ratchasima Zoo, is one of the seven zoos run by the Zoological Parks Organisation under the patronage of the King. As such, it does offer rather higher welfare standards when compared to other facilities in the country and does not allow any hands-on interaction with the tigers. In addition, the zoo is part of a series of breeding programmes with one tiger on display being Indo-Chinese and two being Amur. However, there is also a white tiger, catering to the public desire to see one rather than conservational purposes.
First visit: 19th August 2016
Korat Zoo has set up following an open safari-style plan. There were no real fences. Instead, moats and ditches were cleverly utilised, giving clear views of the animals and a feeling that they could wander off at any given moment.
The tiger enclosures were lush. Plentiful foliage allowed the tigers places to hide, along with caves, platforms, and trees. Each had a large moat filled for swimming. At certain times (our researchers arrived late), there are feeding sessions for the big cats where the cats are encouraged to jump for food in order to help exercise and enrich them. Many other toys and scratching posts were spread about the enclosures.
The Amur enclosure also had an inside room, which was viewable through a sheet of glass. Here there were further enrichment items and a large pond. The two Amur spent most of their time in here, presumably because it was cooler. However, they had the option to go outside if they chose (which the female did eventually).
All the tigers seemed calm and at ease with their surroundings and positive natural behaviours were observed.
Second visit: 12th March 2017
Nothing had changed in terms of the way that the enclosures looked or were furnished. However, on this trip our researchers were able to watch the big cat feeding programme. Out of the tigers, only the Indo-Chinese tiger was part of this demonstration.
Staff initially used a bamboo stick with a large piece of meat to bring the tiger into the water, which he then was encouraged to swim after, exercising his whole body. Once he had retrieved his treat, another piece of meat was swung out using a zip wire, enticing the tiger to leap from a platform into the water to grab it. It was an excellent display of natural behaviour, providing the tiger with both mental and physical enrichment.
Third visit: 13th April 2018
Nothing changed in any of the enclosures. The same tigers, setup, enrichment, feeding programme and enclosure design remained.
No stereotypies were noted. The tigers appeared calm and at ease with their surroundings.
How Many Tigers?
Each area comprised of an outside area and also a hidden den or night room at the back end of the enclosure
Each contained a pond or a moat for bathing all filled plentifully
Plentiful grass and natural vegetation
Contained natural enrichement, scratching posts and pulley systems for food
Caves and some platformed areas to climb
Vary spacious areas
Amur tigers had a large spacious night room complete with another pond and enrichment items
Physical & Mental Health
All tigers were in excellent health
No overcrowding of areas
Tigers also very at ease in their surroundings
No pacing to be observed
Natural behaviours such as scent marking, sniffing, patroling territory, sleeping and eating were all observed. All positive natural behaviours
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.