Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai Thailand Zoo Review

Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand – Zoo Review

The RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review is a quick but informed guide to the quality of places where the public can see animals, including zoos, dolphinariums and other attractions.

We’ve used a range of measures, taken from information available online, to judge how well the animals at the particular zoo or animal attraction are looked after. More than just a ‘review’, the results are actually a Quality Index which will allow tourists and the attractions themselves to judge how well the attractions are performing.

Please note, the information we use is taken from what we assume to be genuine and factually correct comments from reviews, blogs and news stories. If there are factual inaccuracies, please let us know and we will make the relevant changes.

RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review Rating for: Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Zoo_Review_Stamp_Poor

Summary

Tiger Kingdom is a similar attraction to the controversial Tiger Temple. Tourists are able to meet and have their photo taken with tigers ranging from ‘smallest’, ‘small’, ‘Medium’ and ‘big’.

The Zoo Review score is relatively high, due to good reviews on TripAdvisor and Google. It is obvious that many people love the Tiger Kingdom as it gives them the chance to get close to the tigers. Many claim that the tigers seem healthy and well looked after.

However, focussing purely on animal welfare criteria, the Tiger Kingdom seems to deserve a Poor rating, as although the tigers may appear to be in good health, there are still many areas which could be improved on.

In summary, tourists searching online for reviews of the Tiger Kingdom will be greeted with many 5 star reviews; however, further research shows that the animal welfare standards may not be as high as they first appear. Although Tiger Kingdom seemsto have slightly higher standards than the Tiger Temple, there is still much cause for concern over animal welfare.

 Picture from Hotel Phuket

Report Card

Section One: Social Media and News

This section looks at how the attraction is rated by people on key reviewing sites, and in blogs/the media. The reviews are often not concerned with animal welfare, so this section has a lower influence on the overall mark than other sections. However, it is an important measure of the way the attraction is viewed by visitors.

Number of negative TripAdvisor reviews

For the most recent 20 reviews which appear on the official TripAdvisor page for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative reviews:  5/20

Score: 2 Points

Out of the first 20 reviews, only 5 mention concerns about animal welfare. These were primarily focused on the the fact that the tigers could not escape the public, that staff used a stick to discipline them and that some tigers appeared to be kept in small cages away from the public. However, the majority of the reviews were positive with people commenting on how healthy the tigers seemed and how the clean the facilities were. They also mention that the tigers did not appear to be sedated and that the trainers were very knowledgeable and seemed to care for the tigers.

Number of negative Google reviews

For the most recent 20 reviews which appear on the Google search page for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative reviews:  0/14

Score: 2 Points

Nearly all of the reviews focused on how great it was to meet tigers, without mentioning animal welfare concerns. One review positively commented on the health of the tigers.

Number of negative news articles and blogs
For the most recent 10 independent blogs or news articles for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative mentions:  2/10

Score: 4 points

The majority of the reviews were positive and again focused on how healthy the tigers looked and the cleanliness of the facilities. The consensus was also that the animals did not appear to be drugged. The two negative reports disagreed and felt the tigers seemed more lethargic than they should be.

Total Score for Social Media and News Section:  8.5/10

 

Section Two: General Quality of Life

This section looks generally at how the animals, as a whole, appear to be treated. It is based on the internationally recognised Five Freedoms, which focus on key aspects of animal welfare including feeding, housing, health, behaviour and protection from fear/distress.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The Possibly category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

Absence of prolonged hunger and/or thirst

Score: Yes   2 Points

Tiger Kingdom claims the animals are always well fed in order to lower the chance of a tiger attacking a tourist.

Being fed an appropriate diet based on their wild diet

Score: Possibly   1 Point

Hard to determine as there was no mention of the tigers’ diet. However, there were no negative reports mentioning inappropriate food.

Ease of movement within living quarters

Score: Possibly   1 Point

Tigers could roam around in their cage with the public, however, one report mentions that the other tigers such as the breeding ones were kept in a small cage.

Enrichment in living quarters (eg climbing frame, toys etc)

Score: No   0 Points

In the main enclosure, the tigers appear to have trees, sticks and a small pool to play in; but in terms of living quarters these seem bare.

Absence of injuries or disease

Score: Yes  2 Points

Absence of pain (eg being not being chained, or not being hit by staff)

Score: Possibly   1 Point

Trainers use a small bamboo stick to discipline the tigers by hitting them on the nose.

Ability to express natural and social behaviours in living quarters

Score: Possibly   1 Point

Good human-animal relationship with staff

Score: Possibly   1 Points

Reports suggest that the trainers and the tigers have a good relationship and that the tigers are not afraid of them.

Absence of general fear/distress/apathy

Score: Possibly   1 Point

Most reports suggest they are fine, but there are some concerns about apathy or the tigers being lethargic. The discussion as to whether or not they are drugged often comes up, but either way, we can’t give this a Yes rating.

Ability to seek privacy/refuge from humans and other animals

Score: No   0 Points

Total Score for General Quality of Life:  10/20

 

Section Three: Interaction with the Public

This section focusses on the way the attraction allows the public to touch, play with, photograph, feed or otherwise interact with the animals. The focus is on whether or not the interactions are causing harm or stress/discomfort to the animals, and if they could be dangerous to the public.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The Possibly category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the animal’s welfare
Score: No   0 Points

Tigers are constantly subjected to tourists and are kept in an enclosure, however, reports suggest that they do not appear to be treated cruelly.

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the public’s welfare (any previous history of dangerous incidents)

Score: No   0 Points

Three reports mention occasions of members of the public being bitten and needing stitches. One recent incident was reported widely in the media.

The animals are not forced to interact with the public – they can refuse

Score: No   0 Points

The public are not allowed to handle the animals and touch them

Score: No   0 Points

The interactions are supervised by staff and in an educational context

Score:  No  0 Points

All interactions are carefully supervised by the staff, however, the attraction is not educational, so this must be a No.

Total Score for Interaction with the Public:  0/10

Section Four: Conservation and Education

This section looks at whether or not the attraction has a focus on conservation – for example does it support animals in the wild through breeding programmes, research or donations; and education – are visitors informed about the animals so they are not simply seen as objects for human amusement/entertainment.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The Possibly category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

Are some of the animals part of international breeding programs?

Score: No   0 Points

Is there evidence of them having released animals into the wild?

Score: No   0 Points

Do they actively undertake scientific research into conservation/behaviour of their animals?

Score: No   0 Points

Does the attraction give money to conservation or animal protection programmes?

Score: No   0 Points

Does the attraction provide educational talks or written displays to inform visitors about the animals?

Score: No   0 Points

Total Score for Conservation and Education:  0/10

 

Zoo Review Final Score for Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai :  18.5/50

Rating: Poor – it appears that significant improvement is needed in order to meet welfare standards

Do you agree or disagree with this Zoo Review? Please let us know in the Comments below.
If you are from this attraction and would like to comment on this Zoo Review, we’ll be happy to publish your response. Please email info@careforthewild.com or click here

Notes

1. This report was compiled on: 23rd October 2014. Find out more about our Zoo Review campaign here.

2. Zoo Review Final Score is given out of 50 as a sum of the four sections, then a RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review rating is awarded based on this score:

0-10: Unacceptable – the animal welfare at this attraction appears to be of a very low standard and a cause of great concern
11-20: Poor – it appears that significant improvement is needed in order to meet welfare standards
21-30: Average – the attraction scores well in some areas but improvements would be welcome
31-40: Good – Public opinion and animal welfare measures suggest that the animals here are looked after well
41-50: Best in Class – the welfare of the animals appears to be of a very high standard

3. TripAdvisor and Google scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (20) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 2.5 as follows:

0-19% negative 2.5 points
20-39% 2 points
40-59% 1.5 points
60-79% 1 point
80-89% 0.5 point
90–100% 0 points

3. News and blog scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (10) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 5 as follows:

0-19% negative 5 points
20-39% 4 points
40-59% 3 points
60-79% 2 point
80-89% 1 point
90–100% 0 points

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