Hanoi Zoo closes its animal circus - join Animals Asia in saying THANK YOU

17 February 2016

Hanoi Zoo’s animal circus has quietly closed following years of collaborative animal welfare programmes with Animals Asia. Today we say “thank you” and ask you to take a moment to do the same.

Animals Asia signed an agreement with Hanoi Zoo in 2014 to provide welfare advice and practical support to improve the welfare of the animals within the zoo. Working in partnership with Wild Welfare, Change for Animals Foundation and Yorkshire Wildlife Park it has provided a number of significant welfare improvements. Most recently this included ensuring elephants were finally free to roam their enclosure after years of being chained.

The elephant off chain with skyline

Now this relationship has reached a new level of progress with the news that Hanoi Zoo’s animal circus has been closed.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Officer Nguyen Tam Thanh said:

“There has been no major announcement just a quiet closure and we are hugely grateful for this huge step. We rightly continue to expose cruelty so we are duty bound to recognise progress and this is certainly that. While we have been going about our work to improve the conditions for animals at Hanoi Zoo we have been consistently advocating to close the circus."

In addition to assisting the unchaining of elephants, Animals Asia and its partners have also been informing zoo carers about the benefits of “enrichment” for their animals to help provide them with daily stimulation, and working with zoo staff to provide new enclosure furnishings. This has included climbing platforms for bears and tigers that have helped lessen fighting. Beyond that the clouded leopards now have multiple structures, levels and pathways. Meanwhile the macaques have been given bamboo perches, hammocks, swings and puzzle feeders to keep minds and bodies active.

Bears happily enjoy their new enrichmentHanoi zoo bear platform, April 2015

In addition Animals Asia has developed a National Working Group of zoo directors and government officials and have since produced the very first draft guidelines for the welfare of wild animals in captivity in Vietnam. Once ratified by the working group these guidelines will be presented to the national government for incorporation into a national standard.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale added:

“Just as we are against animal circuses - we are not in favour of keeping animals in captivity purely for entertainment. Our collaboration with Hanoi zoo is aimed at improving welfare and making the lives of the animals within the zoo as enriching as possible. To turn our back on zoos would mean having no access to promote what we believe in. Part of that is an end to animal performance. Through our assistance, professionalism and our advocacy we have been able to consistently suggest that the animal circus should end. This is not a moment for celebration - it’s a time to say a heartfelt thank you. This is progress and we are sure that other zoos will take note.”