When the crowds of excited tourists go home, the animals spend day in and day out behind bars.
From orangutans and chimps to elephants and tigers, the desperate animals are not only lonely, but quite literally living in darkness.
This is the life of an animal at Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand.
It’s likely they’ve never lived wild in the first place — born in a roadside zoo or other tourist attraction that sold them off from place to place.
The controversial zoo keeps thousands of animals captive, and the conditions are so deplorable that numerous concerned residents have reached out to Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) for help.
Edwin Wiek, WFFT’s founder, was part of a team that inspected the zoo and checked up on the elephants. Wiek and others instructed better food and less ride activity for the elephants, who were also suffering from digestive problems.
A year later, there is little change.
“Sadly it is not only the elephants that suffer in this old-fashioned run-down zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok — the welfare standards of all animals housed there are terrible,” the WFFT team said in an update. “These animals are legally traded throughout their long lives and in some instances sold to many different owners.”
It’s not just the elephants who are suffering. One of the park’s other popular draws with tourists are its tigers, who live on a chain in order for guests to take photos of them.
It’s common for tiger handlers to drug the animals to make them more cooperative to handling and selfie taking. At all corners, the WFFT team hopes to make progress with this very large case.
“We are monitoring this situation closely and hope that something will be done,” WFFT said. “We will continue to campaign and fight for animals that languish in tourist attractions around Thailand.”
With around 200 elephant tourist camps or zoos that house elephants, Thailand has one of the highest populations of captive elephants in the world.