Teuk Chhou Zoo‏ In Cambodia must close

I visited Teuk Chhou Zoo‏ in Cambodia in mid January 2015. My visit was motivated by the harrowing description of animals suffering I heard from an Austrian Couple who had visited the zoo that day. My partner Gill and I and this couple decided to visit the zoo together, taking as much food in as we could for the animals and with the intention of taking as many photos as we could of the animals suffering there.

It has taken me a while to write this up because I got very sick in Cambodia and its been a long recovery.I have also heard that a Japanese zoo is to exchange two endangered white tigers and some zebra for the elephants at the Teuk Chhou Zoo‏. I am horrified and appalled that new animals are being sent to a zoo that appears to give such little consideration to the welfare of the animals in its care.

Firstly I would like to say I have had over 30 years of working with animals. Rehabilitating wildlife from Australia and working with rescued and abused animals,from camels, emus, kangaroos,dogs, goats, horses,the lists goes on. I have also worked with many animals that have come from extreme neglect. I know happy animals, frightened animals,sick animals but rarely have I felt the level of abject despair that came from  the animals of this Zoo. It was as if many of them had given up.

Numerous things concerned me deeply.

1 Many of the animals were very vulnerable to the zoos visitors that appeared to have free rein. We intervened when we saw some young men poking a Great horned owl with a stick. It was cowering on the ground making the most despairing noise. Its small enclosure was strewn with rubbish and it had nowhere to hide.

2 Many of the animals appeared to have been separated from other animals of the same species. When we asked someone at the zoo why, we were told there was empty cages to be filled. Many of the animals kept in isolation were social animals that would naturally live in herds or flocks or family groups. It was heartbreaking to see them sitting on their own.

3 Most of the enclosures were run down and much too small for the animals that lived in them. All sorts of plastic rubbish was strewn everywhere. Waters were filthy and green and animals had no cover or protection from unsupervised visitors or the weather.

4 We saw several birds with broken wings that had obviously received no medical attention because their wings dragged on the ground. One of these was a large bird of prey that was once again completely unprotected in its enclosure and was living in rubbish.

5 We saw a tiger that was laying in a tiny enclosure once again strewn with rubbish and on its own. Our estimate of the enclosure size would be 6m x 4m

6 Many of the animals were very thin and not in great health. They did not have the vibrancy that comes from a good diet.

This is an example of one of the water containers in the zoo. All the containers we saw were covered in green slime and filthy like this.


This porcupine {below} lived on concrete with nothing natural in its small enclosure.


These birds looked totally dejected. It was appalling to see{below} 

{above}This was the tiger enclosure with no safety barrier in front of it to prevent someone putting their hands through the wire. It would seem to be sheer good luck that someone has not been mauled. There was another tiger that appeared younger in a much small enclosure on the other side of the zoo. As mentioned above. 

This vulture had a broken wing that was dragging on the ground. Once again he had no protection from the elements or visitors to the zoo harming him with sticks and stones.

This was one of the numerous birds separated from the main flock to live in solitary confinement and as you can see,once again no shade,shelter or protection. DSC_0365

DSC_0368               This silver langur had an open wound on its arm that didn’t appear to be getting any attention. It definitely wasn’t clean and we both felt concern over the strong possibility of blood poisoning. My partner and I have both lived in the tropics and know how easily this can occur if wounds are not cared for.

There were many rows of these tiny cages with single animals within them. None had shelter of any kind.DSC_0370

These two animals,one a domestic dog were living in squalor. The dog was filthy. Its hair tangled and dirty.
DSC_0387I have a lot of experience with rearing and handling emus and whilst I realise there is a difference I didnt think these ostriches looked at all healthy. They both had very mucky eyes and were very bald in places

DSC_0422 DSC_0430
An Australian sulphur crested cockatoo with filthy water. I have had lots of experience in rehabilitating these birds. This was the smallest sulphur crested parrot I have ever seen. I can only conclude its due to a very inadequate diet. We did not see any food in its cage or any sign of food being eaten . With parrots being fed regularly the husks of the seeds they eat remain. The cage was not clean and hadn’t been cleaned for a long time and yet there were no seed husks. Once again we were deeply concerned.


Truly devastating to witness animals kept in these conditions. {below}I believe these were adjutants. This zoo had both greater and lesser adjutants (the greater being endangered on the IUCN Red List) Whilst there seemed to be a lot of adjutants at the zoo none of them were appearing to thrive and none of them had conditions that would help them to do so.This one below was one of many kept on its own in a very small space.

In the corner of this cage {below} the Great horned owl that was trying to hide in the long grass after we stopped some young men from poking it with a stick. Once again it was devastating to have to leave this bird in this enclosure with no protection. It was very easy for us to see how an animal could sustain a broken wing with the complete disrespect so many of the tourists were showing to the animals. This owl appeared deeply stressed and very frightened.

P1110655 P1110658This was the younger tiger that we saw on its own in a small cage. Approx 6m x 4m. Once again it was broken down and the tiger looked very thin. 

i spent the day at this zoo walking around and feeding the animals. These animals are exhibits. They do not even have their most basic needs met of food, clean water, shelter and companionship,let alone an environment that nurtures and sustains well being. Its outrageous that any animal should live like this,let alone endangered species. My hopes are that the animals are relocated to sanctuaries that will care for them and that this zoo is closed down.


Kye Crow


Read the news on this ZOO

Zoo of Horrors Phnom Penh Post 2011:http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/fears-over-zoo-swap


– South China Morning Posthttp://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1855616/elephants-nursed-back-health-cambodias-zoo-horrors-could-move-japan


AND PLEASE Make sure you sign these petitions .

http://Petition: https://www.change.org/p/the-honorable-prime-minister-of-the-royal-kingdom-of-cambodia-the-forestry-administration-of-the-government-of-the-royal-kingdom-of-cambodia-free-kiri-and-seila?

Petition Japan

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/884/642/042/hirakawa-zoo-in-japan-stop-the-import-of-cambodian-elephants/ https://www.facebook.com/freekiriandseila


  1. Hello.
    Could you make a petition to Cambodia government and Hirakawa zoological park in Japan?
    You seemed to me really worrying about the animals of this zoo and Japanese zoo. I’d like to help these animals without criticizing the exchange Hirakawa zoological park contract with Teuk Chhou Zoo‏ In Cambodia. We, Japanese loves elephants. I know the climate in Japan is not suitable for elephants. However, sadly, we can’t imagine and protect animals we have never seen. So, I can’t criticize Hirakawa zoological park and many Japanese.
    Could you help the animals both Teuk Chhou Zoo‏ In Cambodia and Hirakawa zoological park? If you make a such kind of petition, I will sign the petition. I promise.

  2. What nonsense is this? A Zoo that can capture animals and neglects them afterwards? It’s so easy to see that the owner is incapable and cruel. Leave the animals where they are in nature and release the Zoo animals to sanctuaries!

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