Namuang Safari Park
Namuang Safari Park on Koh Samui is in a rather isolated section of the island and resides down a long beaten track in the forest. The website proclaims a series of eco-tours dedicated to bringing visitors close to nature. These include baby elephant bathing, elephant trekking, an elephant show, a crocodile show and tiger and leopard photos. Staff were generally unfriendly, simply doing their job regarding the animals, though no overt acts of cruelty were noted.
1st Visit: 16th Mar 2017
2nd Visit: 25th April 2018
First Visit: 16th March 2017
Our researchers arrived at the facility earlier than expected and it was not yet open. During the wait to buy tickets, they were permitted to wander around the grounds and chose to look for where the tigers would be located. Upon asking where the tigers were, staff pointed to the tiger photo area, indicating the researchers could enter.
Our researchers entered the area, which comprised of three separate rooms surrounded by bamboo, each containing a platform and a chain. At the back of this area was another door, and through there were four tigers in cages. These cages measured roughly 5x5m and were dark, cement-floored and contained no enrichment with the exception of a pile of big rocks. The area was clean, though still wet as the keeper was in the process of cleaning the cages.
A second area containing larger tigers was found up in the "zoo" section. This has similarly sized and designed cages, with the addition of a small section out front with three cages attached to it. Tigers could hide in a second adjoining room, and though there were no specific places to get away from the public, the entire block of cages was covered by a black tarpaulin, preventing a full view.
The area appeared tidy with staff currently cleaning. There were no enrichment items, and cages were left wet. The whole area was dark. This section was built as a type of house on stilts, due to the positioning on the hillside. Venturing around the back of the building revealed tigers looking down from small rooms up above - their view of the outside world was unhindered providing some minimal enrichment.
Tigers in the zoo cage area were curious and friendly when it came to non-threatening interactions. They appeared at ease with the keeper cleaning around them, though the physical appearance of the tigers was unclean.
Tigers in the photo section were generally calm until the handler was rough, and then they displayed aggression. Whilst keepers did not hit the tigers, bamboo sticks were used to move the tigers' heads in position for tourist photos and their tails were grabbed to drag them around.
Second Visit: 25th April 2018
There was little change. Staff reported more tigers (though less were seen), and the zoo cage area was now hidden behind a bamboo fence. Tigers could still be seen through it, and it is unclear why the facility had now prevented the public from viewing them.
There were two cubs present in the photo area, mainly seen on video monitors outside of the area - though they were quickly viewed by one of our researchers when a door was briefly opened. This matched with the increased number of tigers in the facility. Overall standards here are low.
How Many Tigers?
No enclosures were seen
Two cage areas only
One set of cages located behind the tiger photo booth:
- cement floors
- no enrichment
- clean water
small rock formation
Second cages in zoo section
- cement floors
- no enrichment
- covered with tarpaulin to prevent viewing
All cages measured roughly 5x5m
All cages were dark
Physical & Mental Health
Body condition - adequate
No injuries noted
Tigers in photo area dragged by the tail
Sticks used to turn/position head
Pacing tigers in cages
Aggressive towards handlers/keepers
Curious and friendly towards non-threatening human interaction
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.