With the Tiger Temple getting closed a year ago, many people assumed this was the start of the Thai government cracking down on tigers in tourism. However this is not the case. A year on and there are in fact more facilities catering to the 'tiger selfie' industry - Tiger Kingdom opened its fourth branch just this January down in Pattaya.
Part of our work is to raise awareness for Thailand's captive tigers and in February and March 2017 we undertook detailed assessment of 37 facilities housing tigers within Thailand. This ranged from the excellent ZPO run zoos such as Ubon Ratchathani to the downright awful, Sri Racha Tiger Zoo.
At each facility we assessed welfare; living conditions, cleanliness, inbreeding etc. of the tigers. We also made records of how many tigers were observed but also asked the staff how many tigers were actually living at the facility. These were compared with the records provided to CITES by the Thai government. Suffice it to say that many numbers do not match.
It was an eye opening experience, not just because of some of the horrific living conditions and entertainment processes these tigers are put through but also because there are some exceptional places in Thailand with outstanding tiger facilities.
A report will be released soon detailing all the information we collected. Here are just a few images to give an idea of what is currently out there in the world of Thailand’s Tiger Tourism.