Our Day at Pata Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand


During our many months in Thailand, Cody and I have seen heartbreakingly miserable orangutans, tigers chained so close to the ground that they couldn’t stand; crocodile meat, crocodile hand bags, and a crocodile show within footsteps of each other, a baby elephant being kicked, racing pigs with numbers spray painted on their backs, bunny rabbits with festering wounds, and too much more to mention.

Unfortunately Pata Zoo is another place we came across with a lot of animal suffering.

The Pata department store is a decrepit building in the middle of a local area of busy Bangkok.


On the top two floors of the building is Pata Zoo with over two hundred species of wild animals.

They live in stinking concrete enclosures obsessively pacing back and forth all day.

The proper term for this behaviour is called zoochosis; an obsessive repetitive movement that is caused by being held captive and not having natural needs met. Other behaviours we witnessed were bar biting and licking, rocking back and forth, and circling.

We took our time at Pata Zoo to properly assess the dire situation for every animal and here is just a small portion of what we witnessed.

Bua Noi at Pata Zoo

Bua Noi, one of the many prisoner’s of Pata Zoo, is a mountain gorilla who should be living her life freely with her family in the jungles of Africa, but instead she sits alone rolling back and forth, pacing from one side of her cage to another.

Bua Noi at Pata Zoo

I can’t even begin to imagine her anguish.

Humbolt the penguin-the last surviving member of a group of twelve penguins, either stands inside a small concrete box facing the wall, or sleeps in the same box.

Humboldt, the lone penguin at Pata Zoo

Instead of calling beautiful islands and caves along the pacific coast of South America home, his existence is reduced to being put on display in an air conditioned room at Pata Zoo.

We also came across turtles in filthy water, rabbits panting in the heat, beautiful tropical birds with very little room to fly, and dead snakes and lizards.

Baby Orangutan at Pata Zoo

But what caused me to lose my composure, was a mother Orangutan and her baby boy.

As soon as I approached her she crawled over and looked at me with eyes so full of self awareness and sadness that I couldn’t help but cry.

I quickly put myself back together and spent more time with her and her baby who wasn’t quite yet aware that this was his fate.

One of the many birds at Pata Zoo

We’re sure there will be some people who still agree with certain zoos and the conservation work they do, but the truth is, 99% of animals being held in zoos are not endangered.

These are animals who have their freedom and nature taken away (everything that makes their lives meaningful) so humans can get their selfie with a funny Orangutan in a tshirt, or knock on the window as a polar bear swims by for the 100th time.

Tourists at Pata Zoo taking photos

Like in most countries; animals are seen as objects, property to possess, and money making machines.

They are not seen as sentient beings who feel, suffer, stress, love, think, and desire to be free as much as you and I.

In our eyes this is a crime.

Pata Zoo

The time has come to recognize the rights of all sentient beings, and stop taking what does not belong to us.

We must strike at the roots of cruelty.

This is a call to anyone who cares about the world we live in and every single inhabitant on it.

If this stirs any emotion in you, please stand up and make an effort to raise awareness.

We all must count on each other to make and be the change that we so badly need in this world.

If you are reading this right now, we hope that it will open your eyes, and in turn you will share this with others who may want to ride an elephant, pay for a monkey show, or eat/use an animal for any reason.

Leopard at Pata Zoo

People need to come to this realization in order for things to truly change. We need to stop thinking “me” and start thinking “we”

Zoos, circus’, elephant shows, breeding, aquariums, horseback riding, meat, dairy, leather.

One of the many albino macaques at Pata Zoo

Please stop contributing to all forms of animal exploitation.

“Compassion, in which all ethics must take route, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind”

~Albert Schweitzer~



Comments To This Entry.
  1. Dusty February 20, 2015 Reply

    Signed! Absolutely deplorable. Thank you guys for sharing this!

    • Giselle and Cody February 22, 2015 Reply

      Thank you so much for signing Dusty. We hope to get a lot of signatures and really bring this to light.

  2. Tyler February 20, 2015 Reply

    This is wrong and needs to be stopped. Thank you for bringing this to attention. This will be shared and shared again. So sad for those animals. Absolutely heartbreaking.

    • Giselle and Cody February 22, 2015 Reply

      Thank you Tyler for signing and sharing.

      It’s really disgusting to have seen this but even more disgusting that people continue to support it.

  3. Franca February 20, 2015 Reply

    I feel for these creatures, they don’t deserve to be kept in captivity only for the sake of ‘entertaining’ human beings. It’s incredibly sad that people cannot see it. What is the point in seeing very stressed and sad animals closed in cages? I’ll never understand it!

    Thank you so much guys for reporting places like Pata Zoo. The more we talked about them, the more people understand in which conditions the animals are forced to live, the more chances there will be that we raise awareness and make a change. Thanks! I totally support you and what you are doing!

    Petition signed!

  4. Wendy @ The Nomadic Vegan February 20, 2015 Reply

    This breaks my heart. Your photographs so eloquently capture the crushed souls of these beautiful beings. I hope and pray they will know freedom one day.

  5. Sandra Roderickson February 20, 2015 Reply

    Shut it down now.I would love 2 visit Thailand 1 day but want until all the animals are treated better.

  6. Suki February 21, 2015 Reply

    thank you so much for standing up to animals. they need people to help them and to close place like this. it is no place for monkey to be with mother. shouldbe in jungle and enjoy life.

  7. Jodi February 21, 2015 Reply

    very powerful images….. their hopelessness and suffering is so evident…. very moving post…

  8. Hannah @Getting Stamped February 21, 2015 Reply

    Signing the petition now!

  9. Lauren February 22, 2015 Reply

    I was aware of this zoo through Jo-Anne McArthur’s work…it is so disgraceful. I don’t know how anyone can visit and not feel the slightest bit bad for the animals. It is so shameful. It is no life for any living creature to be trapped in cages on display like this, it is torturous. I’m off to sign the petition, best of luck with it. I’ll share it on my social media, too. I’d love to see this place shut down and the animals rehabilitated and returned to the wild somehow.

  10. Richard February 22, 2015 Reply

    Heartbreaking. Just awful. Great job documenting the conditions and reporting on it.

    May ALL beings be free from suffering and its causes.

    • Giselle and Cody February 25, 2015 Reply

      Thanks so much Richard for taking the time to view the video. It was a pretty difficult day, but we were there for the animals and what we witnessed is nothing compared to what they are going through. Until every cage is empty!!

  11. Caryl February 23, 2015 Reply

    Must have been hard for you to witness this. Such an awful way to treat such beautiful animals.

    Petition signed and your post shared on our Vegan Food Quest FB page…


    • Giselle and Cody February 25, 2015 Reply

      Caryl, Thank you so much for sharing. We really appreciate all the help and shares.

      It is really hard to see the way these animals are being treated but just think how bad it is for them everyday. We are doing this for the animals and hopefully others will see this and start to talk about the horrible conditions. Hopefully something good will come of all of this 🙂

  12. Denise February 23, 2015 Reply

    I cannot get the link to work and I want to sign it!. Grr…

    • Giselle and Cody February 24, 2015 Reply

      Hey Denise, we just sent you an email with the link so hopefully that will work. Thank you so much for helping out.

  13. Melissa hall February 24, 2015 Reply

    So sad and un-necessary for the animals enclosed like prisoners. Lets do the right thing and put money aside to liberate and put right the wrong.

    • Melissa hall February 24, 2015 Reply


  14. Plub February 25, 2015 Reply
  15. Krisztina Okunbor February 25, 2015 Reply


    • Giselle and Cody February 25, 2015 Reply

      Thank you so much Krisztina!! Thanks for helping out and giving these poor animals a voice.

  16. Sarah Crawford February 25, 2015 Reply

    Crying. Thank you two for putting this out here. Thankful to be able to at least sign the petition and will share through the EcoVerde site, as well. This is truly awful. Thank you for what you are doing.

    • Giselle and Cody February 25, 2015 Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing Sarah.
      The more it gets out there the more people will know of the forgotten animals. 🙁

  17. Elizabeth February 25, 2015 Reply

    This is so sad to see and they deserve better lives then what they have.
    No one wants to be behind bars PERIOD. Let them free!!!

  18. Dion March 4, 2015 Reply

    This kind of bullshit needs to be put to an end.
    It’s so hard to stay happy in my life when I see that there are so many of these horrible places. SIGNED AND SHARED WITH EVERYONE I KNOW!

  19. Damon and Jo March 13, 2015 Reply

    Wow. This just reconfirms my vegetarianism. It’s so sad and a bit disturbing to see this…especially in person!

  20. This broke my heart. I already knew that Bangkok (well, SEA as whole actually) was not for me, but THIS? This is disgusting. I ask myself all the time how people can be so disgusting and allow such cruelty. Unfortunately I cannot think of any realistic solution that would change the mindset of a people who’ve viewed animals as objects, material, or meat for centuries. I can only think to urge tourists to stay away from such facilities. The less money that goes there, the faster it will run out of business.

    • Giselle and Cody March 16, 2015 Reply

      Hi Marina,

      Yes it is very sad, but unfortunately things like this happen to animals all over the world whether it be gorillas, elephants, horses, pigs, or chickens. It is about awareness and changing the way we look at all animals as well as refusing to participate in all forms of oppression.

      People are very resistant to change, but it is slowly happening to those of us who are able to open our eyes to the suffering of all animals.

  21. Maria March 17, 2015 Reply

    those images captured the misfortune of those animals. I will sign this petition. How are these zoos allowed? I will post this to my Facebook.

  22. Megan April 8, 2015 Reply

    signed. this makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. i actually am against all zoos, but to see the conditions at this one in particular- i am just ill. thanks for raising awareness and bringing this to people’s attention.

    • Giselle and Cody April 9, 2015 Reply

      We are against all zoos as well Megan but this one is so horrible and forgotten about.
      Most people we have talked to have no idea that this place even exists.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog and hopefully changes will be made.

  23. Signed, and thanks for sharing!

  24. […] and her infant, and a penguin who lives all by himself and hides in his shelter almost all day. The pictures they shared on their blog are tragic (though, not graphic for any of you who worry about that.)  Click on this picture of […]

  25. Katie Featherstone April 15, 2015 Reply

    This is really horrible. It is sad that a lot of zoos are funded by foreign tourists.

    • Giselle and Cody April 16, 2015 Reply

      Katie, this one is definitely not funded by foreign tourists…in fact we don’t know who funds this place at all. During the 3-4 hours we were there we saw very little people and the fact that the place is falling apart shows there isn’t much money coming in. Really need to just shut it down.

  26. As someone who owns horses and has previously interned at an aquarium and research center, I have seen both sides of the “coin”. While I generally agree with you, that most (many) zoos and aquariums paint the picture above, there are some that are doing a lot of good, rehabilitating animals that cannot be released. I believe that most of the general public needs to see these animals, needs to feel some kind of a connection (like you did above) to really “care” about the animals in the wild, their habitats, and helping to protect them. It was wandering into an aquarium one day that made me want to be a marine biologists and research these amazing animals to help conserve wild populations and their habitats.

    Beautiful pictures and I always appreciate reading other peoples views even we don’t always agree 🙂

    — Katie @

    • Giselle and Cody June 30, 2015 Reply

      Hey Katie,

      Thanks for writing. We have to disagree with you, as we do not see one good reason to take ocean life out of the ocean and place them into much smaller, confined controlled spaces for the reason of research and education. There are books, and documentaries, to learn from, and chances to observe wildlife respectfully in their own habitat. In zoos animals do not get to choose what they eat, when they eat, and a lot of the time their natural needs are not met. We definitely agree with rehabilitation, and introducing animals back into the wild, but are zoos necessary for that to happen? We don’t think so.

      As far as believing that people need to see these animals in order for them to connect and “care” about them; that respect, connection, and care, should come from education from an extremely young age. No animal should be held captive so humans can learn to care about them. Our thoughts regarding animals must change if we say that we truly love them.

      We are of the belief, that animals are not our property. I too (Giselle) was interested in becoming a marine biologist when I was younger, but my wonder and fascination came from seeing them wild and free in the Oceans, where they belong.

      We know we would hate being stolen from our homes and forced to live in much smaller unnatural containers, so we treat others the same, and don’t support places who do that to animals.

      There is a better way to live in harmony with our fellow earthlings than holding them captive.

  27. Ole September 19, 2015 Reply

    I have shared and signed against Pata zoo

    And I think it is wonderfull that you 2 are vegans, then at least no farm animals die in your name

    Though I must disagree with your thoughts of freedom. They are a romantic idear of the rich west. Most zooanimals do not know about the nature, they are captive bred. Most farm animals like cows, pigs, dogs, cats and rabbits do not know about nature either. Most people still have to work just to have a roof over the head and food on the table. So most creatures on this planet are caged in some way

    So I would say all living beeings should be adressed with dignity. And as much a loving familly is good for a child or dog, a good farm or zoo can be a good place for animals.

    • Giselle and Cody September 19, 2015 Reply

      Hi Ole,

      Thanks for writing.

      People in the west, and in many other countries, can live their lives without killing and eating animals. The western way of (factory) farming is the absolute worst, and causes the most harm by feeding the grains of the world to the animals so people can eat the sick animals. These grains should be going to people who are starving. farming animals is, and always will be an unsustainable practice, just like fishing, and the dairy industry. There is no way of humanely slaughtering someone who does not want to die.

      A good way to determine whether something is humane or not, is to decide whether you would want it done to you.
      Would you be ok with being killed, as long as you were treated well while being chained up before hand? Probably not.

      As vegans, we are against breeding in captivity. we fight against that. animals should be left alone in the wild. They are not for human entertainment, they are not objects. also, the idea of freedom is not just a western ideology, as people all over the world are fighting for animal freedom just as they are fighting for human freedom. These are two systems of oppression. One no different from the other.

      The reason farmed animals do not know nature is because they have been bred just to be killed. This is wrong.

      If you truly wish tou educate yourself, please watch Earthlings, and Cowspiracy.

      The anthropocentric way of thinking, and living is destroying us, the planet, and all of the beautiful animals who are just as deserving of life as we are.

      We are symbiotic creatures who rely on eachother (including other beings and eco-systems) in order to survive. But we are too distracted by the outside world, what is on television, who is dating who, etc… connect with that.
      Bio-centrism is what we should be moving towards.

  28. Ole September 19, 2015 Reply

    By the way all larger animals – like the gorilla are not at pata animore. Those that could not be sold are put to dead I guess (The typicall way ministries responsibel for wildlife handle cases like this – something that should be stopped as well)

  29. Larry Adams November 12, 2015 Reply

    Its really saddening to see this inhumane treatment towards animals.Thank you so much for sharing this post, will definitely do something about it.

    • Giselle and Cody November 15, 2015 Reply

      It was a very hard day for us to go and witness the amount of inhumane treatment towards animals. Instead of shying away, we need to speak up and let others know that this is happening. Thank you for helping.

  30. Bob September 21, 2017 Reply

    I loved this zoo. I could touch all animals,even the gorilla! My kind of Zoo! 5 stars from me!

    • Giselle and Cody September 29, 2017 Reply

      What did you love about it Bob?

      The fact that the animals were miserable?

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