Over the past two years the Mali-Salika Zoo in Nakhon Nayok outside Bangkok has been attempting to close its doors. A private holding with 108 tigers residing inside, it was imperative that these tigers found homes before closure could occur. The past months have seen the Department of National Parks (DNP) searching to find homes for all these tigers as they are unable to take on all of them, themselves. This search has led them far and wide across the country as they attempt to find suitable homes for this large number of tigers.
Mali-Salika Tiger Zoo has long been operating in a private capacity. Over the years it has undergone a number of inspections from the DNP to ensure that it follows the standards required. However there have been repeated complaints from locals about the noise and smell that emanates from this area and at the end of 2015 it was announced that they would be closing their doors.
Photos of Mali Salika Zoo sourced from: DNP
On 22nd November 2017, the first Mali-Salika tigers began their move. At this time six tigers – two males and four females were relocated to Mukadan Tiger Zoo and Farm in the northeastern Mukadan Province of Thailand, an area bordering Laos.
A Brief History of Mukadan Tiger Zoo and Farm
In the last few years Mukadan Tiger Zoo and Farm has been applying for a zoo license. Back in 2013 they were investigated by the DNP when it became known that they were holding a number of different species including 28 tigers, 7 leopards, 1 black leopard, 3 lions and 70 crocodiles. Since then they have succeeded in acquiring the zoo license and as such are re-homing some of the Mali-Salika tigers.
Photos of Mukadan Tiger Zoo and Farm sourced from: MGR Online
Prior to this move however, they underwent another full investigation by the DNP in March 2016.
Once again the animals were checked and it was found that the facility still held 28 tigers but that now there were 8 tiger cubs as well. The population of the other species had also risen with there being 5 lions, 7 leopards plus a single baby and presumably the same single black leopard. There were still 70 crocodiles recorded, and an additional 85 crocodile babies, 3 different deer species and 5 kangaroos. At that time all the animals were registered and recorded, in particular the tigers were registered with all their stripe ID's recorded to ensure that proper protocol was being observed and once the DNP were satisfied with the state of affairs, the move of further tigers to Mukadan Tiger Zoo was confirmed.
The November 2017 move was reported successful and prior to the move the DNP checked all tigers at both facilities via stripe identification in order to add all this information and confirm matches to the captive tiger database currently underway. It should be noted that at the time of moving the Mali-Salika tigers to Mukadan Tiger Zoo, the latter zoo had already produced another tiger cub (see photo below). This database is going to be a highly important tool in curbing the trade of tiger parts with the idea being that skins or carcasses could theoretically be traced back to a specific location if that particular tiger has been recorded with the government.
Photo credit: DNP9.com
It s believed that over the next few months the rest of the tigers will be being moved from Mali-Salika Zoo to new homes around the country one of which is Golden Tiger in Kanchanaburi, formerly known as Tiger Temple.