Thailand’s tiger and elephant attractions call for support after two years of losses

Photo by Tiger Kingdom Charity Fund

After a two-year hit on tourism, elephant and tiger attractions in Thailand have run low on money and are asking the government for financial assistance. Zoo operators met with the Tourism Commission yesterday at Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, citing their struggles during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The daily income for Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, as well as the location in Phuket, dropped from 1 million baht to zero due to closures and a lack of tourists, according to the managing director of Khum Sue Trakarn, a company that operates the two tiger parks. Reports say several other tiger attractions in Thailand could not secure financial credit from banks.

The managing director, Kochakorn Chaibutr, says that while the company has not been making an income, they still need to pay the costs to feed and house 220 tigers. For elephant sanctuaries, many in Thailand have been asking for donations for food to feed the elephants.

A report from Nation Thailand says Tourism Commissioner Sirinthorn Ramsut and MPs from the Pheu Thai party discussed problems the zoo operators have been facing, like securing loans to support them during the pandemic. A number of elephant sanctuaries operate on undocumented land, making it difficult to secure loans, according to the president of Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, Pacha Rattanaphan. He even pitched putting the elephants up as collateral for loans.

The owner of Lanna Kingdom Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Wittaya Phongsiri, reportedly called for low-interest business loans, the suspension of all debt repayments during the pandemic, and financial assistance to cover the costs for feeding the elephants.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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