lft investigates

Appalling Conditions For Orangutans at Thai Zoos

A new investigation by Lady Freethinker (LFT) into Thai zoos reveals appalling conditions for orangutans, including the animals biting and clinging to the metal cage bars of their small enclosures, eating trash, and being forced to perform in “orangutan boxing” matches and other exploitative shows.

Lady Freethinker’s investigator visited 5 sites across Thailand and found widespread suffering at each one.

Images from LFT’s investigation reveal:


  • Orangutans in filthy, barren enclosures littered with garbage.
  • Animals lying listlessly on the floor of their concrete cages.
  • One handler shouting at orangutan named Tanja and handling her roughly by tugging on her arms, pulling her into position, and chaining her.
  • An orangutan given a bag of potato chips to eat.
  • Orangutans forced to pose for “selfies,” and trained to grope tourists’ breasts and groins.

Orangutans in Filthy, Barren Enclosures

orangutan investigation

In the wild, orangutans spend 90% of their time in the trees, exploring, foraging, and building nests. But LFT’s investigation reveals that at Thai zoos, they’re confined to barren enclosures littered with trash. LFT observed one orangutan eating garbage, and others were seen biting and clinging to the metal bars of their barren cages. Others lay listlessly on the floor of their concrete compounds. 


Orangutans Used for Forced Photo Ops and Exploitative Performances 

orangutan boxing

Lady Freethinker’s investigator observed orangutans being forced to perform in front of a loud audience, including boxing one another, dancing, and playing instruments. Others were exploited in photo ops, and were trained to grope tourists’ breasts and groins. A handler shouted at an orangutan named Tanja, and roughly handled her to get her into position for photos. She was kept chained when her handler went to eat lunch.


Orangutans Deserve Better

Harangi Elephant Camp & Tree Park

Lady Freethinker’s investigation reveals that orangutans in Thailand are living a lifetime of deprivation and misery for human “entertainment.” We’re urging authorities in Thailand to take meaningful action to help orangutans in the country, including banning forced photo ops and orangutan performances. We’re also calling on Thai officials to relocate the animals to reputable sanctuaries that can provide appropriate enrichment and suitable environments for these complex, intelligent beings.



Lastly, we’re reminding the public to never patronize places that exploit orangutans – or any animal – for entertainment.

LFT Orangutan Investigation Images

orangutan investigation
Elephant wound
Elephant chained
Abscess on elephant
chained elephant
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