Phuket Zoo in Thailand – which has been described as hell on Earth for animals – is finally closing down!
After almost two years during which tourists haven’t been paying for tiger selfies or elephant tricks, the zoo has cited financial concerns, and the animals who have been held there – including 11 tigers, two elephants, and two bears – are all headed to sanctuaries.
Wildlife Friends Foundation is handling the relocation of the tigers in what will be the largest single placement of tigers at a sanctuary in Thailand’s history.
This great news comes after years of pressure from PETA Asia and other animal protection organisations in Thailand. In 2011, PETA Asia began an online petition calling for the zoo to improve the living conditions of the animals held there, which garnered thousands of signatures, and pushed for concerned members of the public to leave truthful comments on the zoo’s social media and Tripadvisor page. A major blow to the zoo came after PETA Asia and its members urged numerous travel agencies to break ties with the zoo and remove it from their tour itineraries.
Shocking video footage captured by Moving Animals in 2019 exposed workers at Phuket Zoo beating elephants with bullhooks – metal rods with a sharp hook on one end – to force them to “dance” and perform other meaningless tricks for visitors.
Not long after the footage was released, one of the elephant’s back legs reportedly broke while he was doing a trick, and it was three days before he was taken to a veterinary hospital, where he died a week later.
We helped the world see behind the scenes of the popular tourist “tiger selfie” at Phuket Zoo with videos that went viral on social media. In one video, a tiger paced in circles on a small platform with a chain around his neck so short that he could barely lift his head.
The closing of Phuket Zoo is a huge victory for animal welfare, and it proves that the people paying for tickets keep these hellish places open. Nonetheless, so much more still needs to be done to help captive animals in Thailand.
PETA Asia has investigated numerous cases of cruelty to animals in Thailand, including at the appalling Pata Zoo, located on top of the Pata Pinklao Department Store in Bangkok, where hundreds of animals are kept in dreadful conditions, without basic enrichment. Bua Noi, a lonely gorilla, has been imprisoned there since the 1980s.
Help PETA Asia close this place down next: