Million Years Stone Park
Million Years Stone Park is located fifteen minutes outside of Pattaya. The attraction is set on more than 70 acres of land and tries to encompass what it describes as the three natural kingdoms, - animal, vegetable and mineral. The site contains many gardens, a rock garden and a zoo, all with the original aim of creating something beautiful for the visitor to behold. However, there is now huge amounts of breeding, particularly with the tigers and crocodiles, and a number of animal shows that do not put the welfare of the animals first.
1st Visit: 17th Feb 2017
2nd Visit: 8th April 2018
First Visit: 17th February 2017
There were many cages at the zoo, though a lot of them were not visible in the way they are set up. However, a lot of them looked to be temporary cages on long legs with a mesh floor. A complete count was unable to be performed as not all cages and tigers could be seen.
There were four enclosures of varying size with different cage furnishings. Not many tigers were able to access these enclosures, the majority therefore kept in cages. The four enclosures had sandy flooring. While two had ponds, some trees, rocks and logs, the other two had no extra items. None had any enrichment; the sub-adults in one of the larger enclosures were finding enjoyment out of playing with branches.
The cages were all roughly 3.5x4m and had either wooden or cobbled floors. A few had platforms, but the majority did not. Whilst they were all very clean and had water bowls, most did not have any water in them. One tiger in particular was constantly licking an empty bowl. When staff were informed of this, they appeared disinterested and no water was given. Our researchers were able to pour water into a few empty bowls, which the tigers lapped up quickly.
There were many colour variants visible, including white, snow and golden. Generally, to get these colours, tigers must be inbred. Further signs of possible inbreeding were noted in the form of crossed eyes. One snow tiger had a weeping eye. There were numerous injuries noted, including sores, small wounds, cracked paws, declawing and lameness. Many stereotypical behaviours were noted, particularly pacing.
Most of the tigers were disinterested or sleeping. Those who interacted with our researchers did chuff and seemed curious. The sub-adults were very playful with each other in the enclosure.
There were three male tigers (two white and one orange) out on platforms for photos. They had short chains and appeared to be there the whole day. At one point, our researchers witnessed one of the tigers defecating and the staff member simply held a scoop under the tiger to catch it rather than allowing the tiger a break. These tigers seemed resigned as their handlers shouted at them, pulling them into place. The orange tiger had a particularly harsh handler. He was poked and prodded in the face throughout photo sessions to appear vicious and roar for the tourists. Once these ordeals were over, he would simply sink his head to his paws to rest.
Second Visit: 8th April 2018
No change in the setup, welfare or living conditions. Fewer tigers were reported though there were more cubs - this is a rather concerning factor.
Enclosures and cages remained the same with no enrichment. The demeanour of the tigers was the same with a general lack of interest and a lot of pacing. Some tigers were observed obsessively licking or sucking their paws. Once again, many tigers had empty water bowls.
The aggressive handler of the orange male photo tiger had been removed, thanks to a well-placed online video showing the handler's behaviour. However, the replacement handler was only marginally better. Though he did not hit the tiger, he smacked the stick on the platform near him and screamed loudly, continuing the trend of making the tiger roar for photos. Many injuries and sores were noted.
Three white cubs were now also out for photos, though only one at a time. When the cubs weren't out, they were kept in a small covered crate. The cub that was out suffered the manhandling of the staff, including being dragged by the front paws, having his ears turned inside out and being swung around in their arms.
Poor welfare abounds, making this one of the worst facilities in the country. The number of tigers doesn't add up either when factoring in new cubs.
How Many Tigers?
Only four enclosures ranging from 8x5m to 12x20m
Contained small pond, sandy substrate
Tigers were solitary or two to a cage
Cages were small 3.5x4m
Bare, some wooden floored, some cobble stones
No natural vegetation or grass
Nowhere to hide
Water bowls though no water in most of them
Physical & Mental Health
Large number of white, snow and also golden tigers
Many had crossed eyes
Wounds, swelling and hair loss all noted
Photo tigers were poked with sticks and shouted at
Photo cub was manhandled for photos
Large number of pacing tigers
Injuries could be from the stress of the environment
Photo tigers clearly stressed and depressed
Licking and sucking on own paws
Generally tigers were unresponsive/lethargic
Sub-adults in enclosure were playful and social with each other
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.