Ubon Ratchathani Zoo
1st Visit: 9th March 2017
2nd Visit: 18th April 2018
Ubon Ratchathani Zoo is one of the seven facilities run by the Zoological Park Organisation (ZPO) of Thailand. As such it has much better welfare standards than most facilities in the country. There were numerous other animals in the zoo and each of these also had large species-specific enclosures. A particular highlight was to see a lioness with her 6 month old cubs running with her through the enclosure and also a large gibbon island.
First visit: 9th March 2017
The zoo is a large one and needs to be travelled in a vehicle. When our researchers arrived at the first enclosure, it was a pleasant surprise for the enclosure was one of the largest in the country - as a gestimate 800sqm probably larger. This housed two male tigers - brothers, Su Thep and Nom Yen. The enclosure was completely natural with tall trees, grass, rocks, bushes and more. There were also platforms, roped logs, pulley systems and a feeding pole. The entire area was ringed in a deep moat, which the tigers could swim in. The second enclosure with the white tiger was along similar lines though slightly smaller in size.
The tigers were very relaxed, disinterested in visitors and perfectly content to perform natural behaviours - swimming in the moat, patrolling their territory, scent marking or simply relaxing.
During the feeding show - a setup where pieces of meat were attached to various parts of the pulley system, the two males demonstrating their jumping and climbing abilities to impressive effect.
At the back of the enclosures could be seen the night rooms and a further tiger was spied walking back and forth in that area.
Second Visit: 18th April 2018
There was no change in either of the enclosures with the enrichment programme operating in the same way. The tigers reacted the same to unthreatening human interaction and to each other - calm, relaxed and curious.
One of the tigers had been reported dead last year thanks to tainted meat. However, the fourth tiger could be seen in the back. When questioning the keeper it transpired this was the sister of the two brothers and she was given access to the enclosure as well, just separately from them. The tigers were also locked in over night as there were concerns of the enclosure being unsafe during the night if no one was watching.
Overall, this zoo has some of the highest welfare in the country.
How Many Tigers?
Huge enclosure - 800sqm
Natural vegetation including trees and bushes
Plenty of places to hide from the public
Rocks, caves and platforms to climb
Enrichment in the form of hanging toys, roped up logs and a food pulley system
Large moat, deep enough for swimming
Physical & Mental Health
Body condition was adequate
White tiger is not conservation
- All tigers seen appeared healthy with no injuries
Relaxed, calm and curious towards humans and con-specifics
Only the tiger in the back was witnessed pacing
Other tigers performed 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.