11 July 2024

Chon Buri has more to offer, than just the sea and beaches of Bang Saen and Pattaya, as an escape from the hectic life and summer heat of Bangkok during the weekends or long holidays such as Songkran.

Khao Kheow open zoo in Si Racha district is an ideal option for adults and especially children, who want to experience something different, like watching wildlife roaming in open spaces, instead of being confined in cages.

The open zoo is located on more than 800 hectares of mostly green land and boasts more than 2,200 species of wildlife, including some which are in danger of becoming extinct in their natural habitats. These include the ring-tailed lemur, which is native to Madagascar.

There are 25 of them at the zoo and they are kept on a small islet, which is only open to tourists on weekends and public holidays. To see them, tourists have to wear gloves and wash their shoes with disinfectant before taking a raft across the lake to the lemur sanctuary.

Tewin Rattanawongsawat, the zoo’s director, said that they obtained some lemurs from Madagascar about a decade ago and have successfully bred them.

Lemurs are social animals and stay together in a herd of 12-24, with the female being the dominant gender. They forage for food on the ground and in trees during the day and communicate with each other through voice and smell. Their life span is between 25-30 years. They usually mate from April-June and give birth to 1-2 offspring at a time after a four month gestation period.

Tewin said lemurs normally eat fruit, offered by zoo staff and tourists, but they also hunt for birds, insects and reptiles.

He said tourists should not approach the lemurs, but should allow the animals to approach them, in order not to disturb them.