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Khao Kheow Forest & Wildlife Reserve Park Bang Saen Aquarium and Khao Kheow Open Zoo (Chonburi, Thailand)

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Chlidonias, 16 Jun 2007.

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  1. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    This is taken from my blog from when I went to Asia last year...

    Today I went to Chonburi, which is about an hour and a half to the south-east of Bangkok. The main reason I was going was for the Khao Kheow Open Zoo (there's various spellings but this is how they spell it at the zoo itself, so that's what I'll go with), but when I was looking up about Chonburi on the internet to find out which bus station to leave from I found out there's an aquarium there as well.

    The Bang Saen Aquarium is at the Barapha University's Marine Science Institute but it appears to be set up as an actual public aquarium rather than a University aid that just happens to allow the public in. The entrance fee for foreigners is 100 Baht but I don't think they really get many foreigners because the ticket lady seemed confused as to where the foreigner tickets even were. Lots of locals though, so its obviously popular with them. The aquarium is a mix of fairly flash new tanks (with several areas blocked off where more are going in) and old glass-fronted concrete boxes where apart for decor no attempt is made to hide that they're concrete boxes. I really liked this aquarium. Its all local marine-life of the area. There's toadfish and stonefish and garden eels and monster groupers and remoras and all sorts of other stuff. The Aurelia jellyfish were kept in a square tank and seemed fine, which was interesting (lots of them in there too). There was a seahorse tank about 5x2 feet containing at least 200 seahorses, but probably more like 300. Attached to the aquarium is the Marine Science Museum which is very good. All sorts of preserved and skeletonised and modelled creatures of the deep. Just my sort of place.

    The zoo was 100 Baht for foreigners (there's always a different price for locals and tourists, which I don't have much of a problem with if it gets the locals more involved in the wildlife but sometimes the tourist price is exceptionally steep at several hundred Baht when the locals pay about 20 or 50). The publicity for the Khao Kheow Open Zoo says it is 2000 acres where 100 (or 200) species of animals roam free, which sounds really excellent, but in fact most of the animals are in standard zoo-sized enclosures, just spread out over a larger area. Some of the cages were in fact rather small, like those for the cats and the horrible little barred cages in the visitor centre for young bears, binturongs and porcupines. I didn't have nearly enough time at the zoo and only saw a small part of it. To get the best of this place you really need a whole day and your own transport. There's a shuttle train that takes you around but the stops are far apart and mostly not anywhere near the enclosures you need to be on foot to view (for small mammals, reptiles, etc). The bird section had a walk-through aviary which also had mouse deer and squirrels and so on. One of the signs inside the aviary said there were Gurney's pittas in there. So what, say non-birders. But the Gurney's pitta is one of the rarest birds on the planet, and its like the Holy Grail for many birders. I'll be trying for it at Khao Nor Chuchi in southern Thailand (the only place its accessible), probably unsuccessfully. I saw a blue-winged pitta in the aviary, but no Gurney's. There were Prevost's squirrels in the visitor centre, the most beautiful squirrel in the world, but the best animal in the zoo was the hoary bamboo rat. Its the size and shape of one of those barrel pencil cases, with thick chocolate brown fur and a white stripe down the face, a tiny little tail and tiny eyes and ears. So cute. The young binturongs play-fighting were good too.

    Just as a side-note, there's another zoo near Bangkok, in Minburi, called Safari World where I was at first going to go because I was intrigued by the information they had "white pandas" and as far as I knew the only giant pandas in Thailand were at Chiang Mai Zoo. So I tried to find out about these pandas on the internet before I left New Zealand, and instead found out that Safari World had had 115 (that's one hundred and fifteen) smuggled Bornean orang-utans confiscated from their premises in 2004! So I am avoiding that zoo just on principle. A number of those confiscated orangs that were supposed to be sent back to Borneo instead turned up at Chiang Mai's Night Safari Zoo later. And just the other day in the Bangkok Post was an item about Safari World in trouble again for possibly-illegal elephants it's trying to send out of the country.
     
  2. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    I believe that Khao Kheow open zoo has Lesser adjutants and Bulwer's pHeasant. Is this True?
     
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't remember the lesser adjutants (I do remember the free-flying painted storks though!), but yes they had Bulwer's. Many of the zoos I went round in Asia had signs for Bulwer's pheasants but whether they were actually there is another matter. Many of the zoos there seem to treat the Asian birds in a somewhat offhand way, apparently because they are easily replaced (legally or not)
     
  4. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    I haven't been to Asia at all. I just read on ISIS about the lesser Adjutants. Apparently they also have single wattled cassowaries and A male Greater adjutant.
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Angkor Zoo in Cambodia (see one of my other threads) had several extremely endangered waterbirds, including lesser and greater adjutants, Oriental darters and spot-billed pelicans, as well as grey and purple herons, Oriental white ibis and woolly-necked storks. All of these had to have come from the breeding colonies at Prek Toal at the nearby lake Tonle Sap. One would hope they came to the zoo because they were injured or as abandoned chicks, but somehow I doubt it...
     
    Last edited: 17 Jun 2007
  6. Peter Dickinson

    Peter Dickinson Well-Known Member

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    The White Pandas are Polar Bears but I imagine you guessed that.
    Best Wishes,

    Peter
     
  7. mr.felidae

    mr.felidae Well-Known Member

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    i have read about Khow Kheow having a cat breeding complex, and several small cat species that arnt found in the UK. can someone please tell me which species and if there is a link to the cat part of their website post it on here? also any pics would be good. thanks :)
     
  8. Peter Dickinson

    Peter Dickinson Well-Known Member

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  9. mr.felidae

    mr.felidae Well-Known Member

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    interesting reading, thanks for that Peter! Cloudies are one of my favourite species that i've worked with :)
     
  10. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    It is an exciting project, which I am hoping the EEP might get attached to too. As would be with similar projects in Cambodia and in Kalimantan, Indonesia.