Global call for Thai authorities to shut down cruel tiger entertainment venues

29 July 2016

Over 32,000 people demand an end to tiger exploitation in Thailand

Today, on International Tiger Day (July 29), we handed a 32,000 signature-strong petition to Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), urging the authority to investigate and shut down cruel tiger venues across Thailand.

In the wake of the recent scandal at Tiger Temple, thousands from Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the UK signed the petition, which was presented to Mr. Thanya Netithammakun, Director-General of the DNP, at Huay Kha Khang Wild Life Sanctuary in Uthaithani Province.

The petition is officially handed over to DNP director general Tanya Netithamakul

Together with our supporters, we urged the DNP to end the exploitation of tigers in Thailand; while handing over our new investigative report ‘Tiger selfies exposed: A portrait of Thailand’s tiger entertainment industry’, which exposes the scale of cruelty in 17 tiger entertainment venues across Thailand.

Gilbert Sape, World Animal Protection's wildlife campaign Manager for Asia-Pacific, said: “Today, we took a step forward with the Thai authorities to help end tiger exploitation. We offered clear evidence of the cruelty across the tiger entertainment industry, backed by the voices of over 32,000 supporters globally, to move towards ending the suffering of tigers in the wildlife entertainment industry.”

In a June meeting with World Animal Protection, the DNP had committed publicly to investigate all tiger entertainment venues in Thailand for illegal trafficking. Since then, the DNP has taken small but positive steps forward. We are urging them to go further in their investigations, and honour their commitments.

The DNP’s Deputy Director Adisorn Noochdumrong said: “We are considering where to go next in our investigations, but tiger venues with a high population of tigers will be our main targets.”

On receiving our report, the DNP expressed interest on the increasing number of tigers in the Thailand tourism industry and the discrepancies between actual and registered numbers: with the report revealing a fast-growing industry with a third more captive tigers in Thailand in just five years.

The DNP is now considering implementing stricter regulations for the wildlife tourism industry, in accordance with changes to the Wildlife Act, including a national standard for zoos, requirements for diversity in species at zoos, as well as rules for human-tiger interaction.

Tracking tiger numbers

As we continue to urge the DNP to implement a breeding ban for tigers, Adisorn Noochdumrong added: “We will look at stricter breeding permits, with all venue owners having to submit a proposal for a breeding permit from the DNP, which we will assess on a case-by-case basis, looking at their total tiger numbers, and why they want more tiger cubs."

However, venues that use tigers for entertainment may still be allowed to breed tigers, so our work to seek a complete breeding ban continues; to ensure no tigers are sold into the illegal wildlife trade, or suffer in wildlife entertainment.

Movement for change

Together we can protect tigers from the cruelty of tiger entertainment venues; and we continue to:

- Call on governments to investigate tiger entertainment venues, such as Sriracha Zoo, and close down those showing evidence of illegal trade, cruelty or neglect.

- Demand that TripAdvisor, and other travel companies, end ticket sales and the promotion of cruel wildlife attractions.

- Educate Tourists to say no to any wildlife tourist entertainment venues that allow direct human-animal interaction, such as hugging and selfies with tigers.

Gilbert Sape added: “TripAdvisor, the largest travel site in the world, continues to promote and sell tickets to cruel wildlife attractions. Instead of selling tickets to some of the cruellest places like Sriracha Tiger Zoo, they could be a part of the solution and help to end the suffering of tigers."

Sign our petition calling on TripAdvisor to stop profiting from cruel wildlife attractions today.

"We are considering where to go next in our investigations, but tiger venues with a high population of tigers will be our main targets.” - Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Deputy Director Adisorn Noochdumrong.

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