PETITION TARGET: Thailand Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Ministry of Public Health
Tanja, a captive orangutan, was chained at the wrist, her handler shouting commands at her to get her into position for “selfies” with tourists, a new investigation from Lady Freethinker reveals.
Lady Freethinker documented zoos across Thailand, and also found orangutans biting the bars of their enclosures, eating trash, and otherwise suffering while forced to perform in demeaning shows like “orangutan boxing.”
Lady Freethinker’s investigator visited five zoos and uncovered horrifying conditions to the critically endangered primates at each one.
In the wild, orangutans are among the most intelligent primates and spend 90 percent of their time in the trees. At the zoos, these exceptional primates were often seen in concrete cages with little to no enrichment, lying listlessly on the floor of their enclosures, or chained up. One orangutan was given a bag of chips to eat by her handler.
Orangutans were exploited for selfies, too, and groped tourists’ breasts and groins during photo ops, according to the investigator. They were also forced to perform in front of a loud audience, including in an “orangutan boxing show,” and had to dance and play instruments.
At one zoo situated on the 7th floor of a shopping mall, orangutans were kept in dark, barren enclosures. One orangutan was lying on the ground for hours, holding herself, according to the investigator. Another orangutan named Kat was documented eating trash inside the cage.
Orangutans are complex, intelligent animals who have been observed in the wild using tools, building nests, and exploring their forest homes. They deserve better than to be trapped behind metal cage bars for humans’ amusement and profit.
Sign our petition urging authorities in Thailand to take meaningful action to help orangutans in the country, including banning forced photo ops and orangutan performances.
And please remember to never patronize places that exploit orangutans or any animal for “entertainment.”