Thailand has opened a brand new zoo and it is one that has garnered the attention of the world’s media for offering a different kind of experience.
The ‘Khop Khun Animal Sanctuary’ based outside of the city of Phuket is revolutionary in its approach to animal captivity, if you can even call that. The entire park is open with no walls or barriers keeping the animals in one singular place. Instead, in order to keep visitors safe, every member must wear their very own human cage, placed around their head, body and legs to prevent any unwanted attention from the most rambunctious of residents.
Originally the idea of billionaire John Cho, it was fully realised, albeit with the help of Cho’s money, by Anastasia and Lloyd Botham, a couple originally from Milton Keynes. It was these forward-thinking biologists who designed the layout of the attraction with the animals in mind, more than the people.
“We wanted it to be outside inside, or more appropriately, we didn’t want the animals to know they were being kept inside something,” wittered Lloyd, “Their sense of freedom is much more important than anything else. They need to believe that nothing is stopping them from living their best life and though it may not be the habitat they are normally used to, it is much more humane than tiny cages in dingy corners of draughty warehouses.”
Anastasia was the one who crafted the “human cages” as they have come to be known as. “I was inspired by robots. I love the movement of robots, the style and look of robots. It then occurred to me that when people get close to sharks they lower themselves into the water in a giant cage for protection. Why not do the same thing on land? Not with sharks though because they’d die, unless they were put in a giant tank. I reckon it wouldn’t be the same though.”
After ten minutes of waffling she returned to the point. “We have several cages available for use. The family cage (AKA the “Bernard Manning”) is our most popular, allowing two adults and two children to wander through the park in tandem. The couple cage (AKA the “Howard and Marina”) is another favourite, for those who don’t want to chance it on their own. The solo cages (the “Katie Hopkins”) are also available although you’d be surprised at how often they are not used. People would prefer to travel in groups.
The controversy surrounding the sanctuary was deepened when several of the animals took it upon themselves to try and eat the paying patrons by pushing the cages over and clawing at the people like they were trying to scoop the last of the Pringles from the very bottom of the tube. Mike Sore and his fiancee, Klara Onspott, barely made it out alive.
“It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” rustled Mike, his wife-to-be shaking nervously at his side, “you never expect it to happen to you. There we were, laughing at the marmots when these two gorillas pushed over our cage and viciously swiping at us. Had we not flattened ourselves at the very bottom and called for help we wouldn’t be here today. Thank God gorillas have never had a box of Tic-Tacs.”
It’s fair to say that once the animal kingdom does learn about shaking that last chocolate-covered raisin from the bottom of the packet into the mouth in one seamless movement, the human race is doomed.