Phuket Zoo

Coordinates: 43°49′13.00″N 79°10′58.00″W / 43.8202778°N 79.1827778°W / 43.8202778; -79.1827778
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Phuket Zoo
Phuket Zoo (2013 Dec.) - panoramio.jpg
The Phuket Zoo
43°49′13.00″N 79°10′58.00″W / 43.8202778°N 79.1827778°W / 43.8202778; -79.1827778
Date opened1997
Date closed2020
Location23/2 Moo 3, Soi Palai, Chaofah Rd., Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Land area4.8 ha (30 rai)[1]
No. of animals1000+
No. of speciesUnknown

The Phuket Zoo was a zoo located in Phuket, Thailand. It was founded as a private zoo in 1997. The zoo was located near the Mueang Phuket district and the Phuket Bay.[2] The zoo had been embroiled in controversy over its lack of animal welfare standards and allegations of extreme cruelty to animals.[3]

The zoo covered an area of 4.8 hectares (30 rai).[4] It was known for having close encounters with many exotic animals including tigers, monkeys and elephants. The zoo had many sections including areas devoted to crocodiles, elephants and monkeys while also having an aquarium and an orchard garden.

The zoo closed in 2020, with the main reason for this closure being the lack of tourists due to COVID-19.[5]

Animal shows[edit]

inside Phuket Zoo

Monkey shows[edit]

The monkey show consisted of a macaque monkey doing tricks and then taking pictures with the crowd. Some of the monkey's tricks included riding a bike, dunking a basketball and doing exercises, like push-ups and sit-ups. After that, the monkey walked around with an oil-paper umbrella and took pictures with guests.[6]

Elephant shows[edit]

An elephants trunk at the Phuket Zoo

In the elephant shows, a group of asian elephants performed tricks and then there was the opportunity for the guests to meet the elephants. The elephants started off by doing tricks like kicking a soccer ball and also did dances and races. At times, guests were able to feed the elephants bananas and at the end touch their trunks. The elephants have even be trained to ask for tips. Some people thought the shows were demeaning to the elephants involved. The elephants the zoo had were formerly logging elephants.[7][8]

Crocodile shows[edit]

While there were no encounters guests could have with the crocodiles, many guests found the shows entertaining. The highlight was when one of the trainers stuck his head in between the crocodiles mouth.[9]



The zoo had a small aquarium with a variety of fish and marine animals including fresh-water and salt-water fish, turtles, frogs, crabs and lizards. They also had display area showing fishing equipment and techniques of Thailand's fisherman as well as seashells.[10]

Bird Park[edit]

The Phuket's Zoo Bird Park had a variety of birds including toucans, peacocks, parrots, hawks, emus and ostriches. Some of the birds were allowed to fly freely in the park.[11]

Animal encounters[edit]

As well as the opportunities to meet the animals during the shows, the Phuket Zoo allowed guests to meet some of their other animals. Some of those opportunities include getting to take pictures with and pet a tiger. Formerly, guests could take pictures and touch an orangutan, but she was later confiscated by the police. The experiences were an extra fee.[12]

Conservation efforts by the zoo[edit]

It did not appear that the Phuket Zoo is involved with conservation efforts to save animals worldwide. They are also not accredited by the South East Asian Zoos Association (which is the main coordinating body for zoos in Thailand) or the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Milo the Orangutan[edit]

The Phuket Zoo formerly had an orangutan named, Milo. However, a petition garnished more than 10,000 signatures for her to be removed due to her being forced to take photos and her health struggles. Due to the petition, the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division of the Royal Thai Police and Department of National Parks decided to confiscate her after it appeared she was being kept illegally.

When the authorities came to confiscate Milo, she was not at the zoo. All pictures of her on the zoo's website were also deleted. Later in the week, Milo was found in a small cage in the jungle.

Milo later died the following year of a stroke. Her bad health from her time at the zoo most likely contributed to her passing.[13]


While many guests enjoyed their time at the Phuket Zoo, many people found the zoo to be cruel and inhumane.[14]

Disappearance of animals[edit]

Some guests[who?] have complained that animals at the zoo including snow leopards and camels disappeared without any word from the zoo. Some people[who?] speculated that the animals may have gotten sick and were sold off before they died.


The macaque monkey used in the monkey shows had a rope around their neck and were forced to do tricks. One exhibit held two monkeys, but one is more aggressive than the other forcing it to become malnourished. One gibbon was even in a staff-member's arms all day and stays in a cage with a lock at night with no room to move.


In 2019, a 2-year-old elephant died from injuries he sustained after performing for tourists.[15]


The crocodile exhibit is highly criticized for being overcrowded, small and dirty. Many people[who?] said the water the crocodiles have is too shallow and is filled with feces. They have also been caught on video being poked at with brooms.


A video of a turtle at the Phuket Zoo's Aquarium sparked controversy as its exhibit seemed to be too small for it to move.

Bird Park[edit]

Some of the birds in the Bird Park are chained up and some guests[who?] said the bird's cages are too small and overcrowded.

Drugging of animals[edit]

Due to the fact many animals have encounters with humans, many guests speculated that the animals were drugged so they don't attack humans.[who?]

Inadequate exhibits[edit]

Many of the animal's exhibits, including the ostrich and deer, have no grass, shrubbery or enrichment toys. Even one of the Asiatic black bear's enclosure was just a concrete pit.

Efforts to change or close the Phuket Zoo[edit]

PETA has called on the zoo to "Improve the Living Conditions of the Animals..."[3] There are also plenty of petitions online including one on that call for the closing of the Phuket Zoo.

Animal list[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". The Phuket Zoo. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Contact Us". The Phuket Zoo. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "PETA decries 'appalling conditions' at Phuket Zoo". The Phuket News. October 20, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "Animal Encounters in Thailand for Families". May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  5. ^ ‘คำรามจากป่า’สวนสัตว์ภูเก็ตโอนเสือให้มูลนิธิเพื่อนสัตว์ป่า ปรับพื้นที่เป็นสวนมะพร้าว
  6. ^ "Monkey show". The Phuket Zoo. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Elephant Show". The Phuket Zoo. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Jane Dalton (April 6, 2019). "'Skeletal' baby elephant forced to bang head to rave music as Thailand zoo visitors laugh". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-05-26. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  9. ^ "Crocodile Show". The Phuket Zoo. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  10. ^ "Phuket Zoo and Aquarium". Luxury Thailand Travel. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  11. ^ "Bird Park". The Phuket Zoo. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  12. ^ "Photo". The Phuket Zoo. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "Milo the orangutan dies after stroke". The Phuket News. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Review of Phuket Zoo". TripAdvisor. May 13, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  15. ^ "Baby Elephant Dies at Thailand Zoo Days After Being Forced to Perform For Tourists". Peoplemag. Retrieved 2023-03-04.