Thaithong Zoo or Chang Thai Thappraya Safari, has apparently been running for a few years though it doesn't appear to be as advertised as some of the other facilities in the area. It is actually located in central Pattaya (South), but does not appear to have so many visitors and is very small. There are elephant rides available as well as the tiger photo opportunities. At the time of writing, this photo opportunity also included two white lions and a leopard.
1st Visit: 7th April 2018
First visit: 7th April 2018
The area of the facility was very small and so were the cages. Each of the cages holding the tiger were made up of two parts - a section containing a concrete platform for the photographs and a smaller second area that were presumed to be the living quarters - this was sectioned off with bars and a door leading our researchers to believe that the tigers only had access to that area after hours, rather than the entire cage.
Each of these areas was around 10x5 metres in total, with a concrete floor and no enrichment, with the exception of a wooden platform in the living area. The larger orange tiger (possibly an Amur or some similar parentage), did have an extra 2x5m outside area that contained a bath at one end.
Each of the tigers appeared to be chained for the duration of the day - the chain was about a foot long. This seemed to be possibly some form of safety as each of the concrete cages were standalone, allowing tourists to walk right around. The cages only hard bars, no mesh and did not have proper safety barriers in place. Therefore, if the tigers were free within the cage, an unsuspecting tourist could easily be grabbed.
None of the tigers had water within reach and had to wait for staff to bring the bowl to them, which staff did on occasion. Nearing the end of the day, raw chicken was brought out for their food.
Physical and mental health of the tigers was hard to determine given that none of them really moved and appeared asleep, disinterested or possibly lethargic throughout the visit - our researchers would guess lethargy due to lack of proper exercise, mental stimulation and general poor welfare.
Staff were matter-of-fact in the handling of all the animals, with none of the big cats showing any overt signs of fear or aggression. In fact the lioness showed a very positive attitude towards the handler and was the only one not chained. Staff carried short sticks and used them to push the tigers into the desired position or redirect the head. No hitting of any kind was witnessed.
How Many Tigers?
- Each cages was roughly 5x5 metres
- The photo platform adjoined the area where each was kept
- No enrichment
- Barren cages
- One had a bath tub
- No natural vegetation
- No place to hide from tourists
- Chained during tourist hours
- No access to water unless provided by staff
Physical & Mental Health
Two white tigers
Body condition appeared adequate though slightly towards overweight - did not see anywhere they could really exercise
Tigers were clearly lacked any stimulation
Acted fearfully of staff
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.