Thailand tiger rescues hold no guarantee of safety

Rambo paced anxious circles in his cage as it became clear he was subject to special attention. The Bengal tiger was about to be moved from the shuttered Phuket Zoo to a new home: a rescue centre in central Thailand. 

As the zoo closed, its 11 tigers were moved to the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) rescue centre in Phetchaburi province, a 10-hour drive from Phuket, an island tourist destination in southwestern Thailand. 

Awaiting them was a 7-hectare (18-acre) enclosure with marshy grassland where the tigers can roam free from the pressures of being a captive attraction. 

But bigger, post-rescue enclosures are not a guaranteed future. Captive tigers in Thailand often face complications due to inbreeding and lose their natural instincts from lifetime captivity. Release into the wild is not an option and new homes need to be found for them following zoo closures and confiscations. 

Keep reading