Thailand has a huge range of captive wild animal facilities, probably best known for those housing elephants, where everything from circus-style performances to sanctuary-type opportunities exist for visiting tourists. The proliferation of elephant-only centres, along with hundreds of other zoos and aquariums – ranging from large safari-style facilities to zoos on top of shopping malls – mean animal welfare issues are not uncommon across the country.
Since 2017, Wild Welfare has been helping the Zoological Park Organization of Thailand (ZPO), one of the country’s zoo associations responsible for around eight zoos, that fall under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King of Thailand.
From carrying out welfare assessments in ZPO zoos to providing practical recommendations for welfare improvements, our project has already developed into a positive collaboration which is having some encouraging results.
Several of ZPO’s zoos have dedicated teams that provide enrichment to their animals and part of our project work involves directing and advising these teams in how they can best provide improved enclosures for their animals which can offer a range of enriching opportunities and enable individual animals the chance to express normal behaviours.
Our Thai projects have a positive overlap with our collaboration work with the Southeast Asian Zoos and Aquariums Association (SEAZA), as several ZPO zoos are SEAZA members and are committed to meeting and exceeding the high animal care and management standards their welfare certification programme will set out.