Ankur and I have been to Bangkok a couple of times. However, never had we explored the city from a ‘kid-friendly’ point of view. This time, Ankur’s teenage niece and nephew accompanied us. We checked with a few friends before drafting our itinerary. Each one of them recommended the ‘Bangkok Safari World’ and insisted that we spare one full day for the excursion. Our friends and their little ones had enjoyed the place and thus, we planned on spending our second day in Bangkok at the safari park.
I am an animal lover and Ankur is a freedom lover. Both of us were crest fallen and felt sad as we walked through this caged animal world called the ‘Bangkok Safari World’. There are reasons why we won’t recommend this attraction to any of our readers. Here are some of them:
Zoos are meant for edutainment
The purpose of having a zoo is to educate the younger generation, make them aware of species that live with us on this planet so that they value life and realise that every species has a key role to play. There are hardly any signs in English in front of the cages. What knowledge can anyone seek, even using Google search if one does not know the name of the animal he/she is looking at!
Too many tigers!
The tiger is a territorial animals and needs 12 – 90 square kilometres of territory. In the safari world, there were over 30 tigers in less than 5 square kilometres. Such a scenario is far from the habitat that the cats should live in!
Cubs in tiny cages
I wonder what joy do we humans derive by getting pictures clicked with ferocious beings in ways and means that suit us? None of us want to get a picture clicked with a tiger cub in the jungles of Ranthambore – we are too scared!
But this silly desire is being honoured by the safari park. There are little cages on wheels that parade with tiger cubs for us to hold the little one and take a picture. We saw that two cubs were stuffed into a tiny cage, which was so small that both the animals could not sit together at the same time!
Elephants being poked
The park has shows where trained animals perform. One such show is the elephant show.
We saw a young elephant rope walking – hats off to Dumbo! Clap clap clap! But its didn’t seem right. The elepahnt could have toppled off and injured himself!
Also, the trainers carried sticks with huge ugly hooks and would hit the elephants if they did not perform as per plan. Cruel!
The elephant, dolphin and orangutan shows sure are crow pullers, but they are not things that the animals would be enjoying.
Being trained in captivity alters the social behaviour of dolphins and can make them depressed.
We see the ‘funny’ Thai Boxing show being performed by the orangutans; little do we know about the methods used to train these animals. In fact, there were times when I found the orangutan show bordering on vulgarity. The park has had negative publicity in the past on account of housing baby orangutans that were illegally smuggled from Indonesia.
I fail to understand how these shows fall under the purview of ‘edutainment’. Not once was the animals’ importance to the ecosystem discussed during the entire show.
Animals deserve their right to freedom! If we really want to learn more about them, we should read and visit them in their natural habitat in forests… forests in India, Kenya, Tanzania… its a big big world!
Help create a better tomorrow where humans co-habit the planet in peace!