From the rainforest covered hills in the North, to the plains in the East and the islands in South Thailand, the area is covered with not only amazingly lush rainforests, but also towering limestone formation that kick-start the imagination. Located in Southeast Asia Thailand receives heavy rainfall and is a beautiful place to just cool off and relax. The country’s tourism is mainly based on their nature and marine reserves, which are numerous and contain a large variety of species, many of which are endangered due to poaching. The government has taken action against poaching and animal cruelty at tourist attraction; however, there are still instances of illegal animal trade which takes place in the black markets of the country. Despite this Thailand is a country which loves animals, whether it be wild or domestic as prevalent by the number of pet owners and strays that roam the city.
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Bangkok is the largest and most populated city in Thailand, and is home to multiple zoos and two aquariums. Safari World, opened in 1988, covers 480 acres of land and is divided into two main parks, Safari Park and Marine Park. Safari Park is a 5 mile long open zoo with a wide variety of animals from around the world. Its main attractions are the Lion and Tiger feeding shows that take place every day. The Marine Park features birds, animals, and marine creatures along with spectacular shows featuring diving dolphins, boxing orangutans, daring sea lions, high flying parrots and death defying cowboys which are bound to entertain you. Although, in the past, the park has been accused of animal cruelty, steps have been taken to make sure that the animals are now well taken care of.
Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo is the largest crocodile farm in the world with 100,000 crocodiles. It also is home to the largest crocodile in the world named Yai, who is 20ft long. The Farm also has a crocodile nursery and also has lion, tigers, hippopotamus and other animals. There are regular shows showcasing daredevil keepers placing their head into the mouths of adult crocodiles, which is to be seen to be believed. They also house a dinosaur museum showcasing several dinosaur skeletons and models.
The Snake farm is an educational institute and conservation site for venomous snakes, where snakes are milked for their venom which is required to produce anti-venom for snake bites. The Snake Farm also puts on shows to educate the public about snakes, their importance and conservation. They work closely with Red Cross Thailand in promoting awareness of snake biology, snake bite first aid, venom extraction and anti-venom production.
Located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a city which has, in comparison to Bangkok, a ‘little town’ like feel. Despite its laid back atmosphere, the city is known for its culture and nature focused tourist attractions. The Mae Sa Elephant Camp is a must-see. The camp offers refuge for elephants, who were saved from illegal logging businesses, and retired to be show and ride elephants. They also house elephants who were subjected to animal cruelty, and elephants saved from poachers. They are one of the few government sanctioned elephant sanctuaries, and also participate in breeding, conservation and rehabilitation programs.
Mae Sa Elephant Camp also have a scientific department which studies elephant psychology and biology, they focus on recycling as evident by elephant poop papers and journals. They also offer paintings made by the elephants in their gift shop and have the Guinness World Record for the largest elephant painting in the world, which is a must-see. The camp also offers tourist the opportunity to feed and bathe the elephants and essentially be a mahout for a weekend.
The flight of the gibbons zipline allows you to tour the ancient Thai forest form the forest canopy through a zipline. There are a multitude of zipline ‘paths’, which also allows you to see the endangered gibbons. The company focuses on conservation of wild gibbons, reforestation and educating the public. To support conservation, profits are donated to conservation projects and all the gibbons you will see are wild or rescued gibbons
Tiger Kingdom has a branch located at Chiang Mai and offers tourist the opportunity to pet and interact with live tigers. Tiger Kingdom works closely with the Thai government on conserving tigers and educating the public on tigers and their conservation. One is given the opportunity to interact with tiger and lion cubs, teenagers and young adults. Although the tigers are friendly, they are still wild animals and many precautions are taken by their keepers and trainers to make sure you are kept safe. Tiger Kingdom also participates in Tiger research and mating in conjunction with the government and Zoos. Along with tigers there are also a few lions who call Tiger Kingdom their home.
Thailand is a great place to see exotic animals. The zoos and parks here serve the dual purpose of entertainment and conservation. So, be sure to see the above place when you are in Thailand.