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- Teuk Chhou Zoo -

Teuk Chhou Zoo

The Teuk Chhou Zoo is a private zoo near the city of Kep. It is located 2.5 km away from the provincial town. The zoo is located in Thmei Village in the Prey Thom Commune, and is home to a variety of animal and plant species.

The Teuk Chhou Zoo was opened in 2000. It features different animals including tigers, elephants, monkeys of different species, snakes, deer, bears including a couple of sun bears, otters and many more. This is a wonderful place to spend a fun filled afternoon with your family. The children are simply going to love experience.
The ticket for the entry includes a small charge if you want to drive your car through the zoo. The ticket includes access to the national park. Inside, you can even make a splash or take a cool dip in the crystal clear water of the Teuk Chhou River.
Apart from the Zoo, Kep City, there are several other attraction sites which tourists can visit and these are Koh Ton Say Resort, Phnom Sar Sear, Veal Lumher and Wat Samot Reangsey.
 In a more 'traditional' (keynesianistic) and western way of thinking it would be the task of the state to finance zoos. But that's not the case here. Kampot Zoo is private property. It's owned by Nhim Vanda.
 Nhim Vanda is a politician of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP). He was an elected parliamentarian for Prey Veng Province (east Cambodia) in the Cambodian National Assembly.
 

The zoo in Kep is one of the most visited sites among the various tourist attractions in Kep. Kep is a seaside city tucked away 173 kilometers to the south west of Phnom Penh. History has it that it was founded in 1908 during the times of the French colonization. Kep was transformed into a beautiful seaside resort during the Prince Norodom Sihanouk's Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime in the 1960s.
The name of the city is derived from the French words 'le cap' or 'cape' in English.

Teuk Chhou Zoo was in the last years repeatedly under critic. The animals were neglected, got too less food, cleanliness and hygiene were too low, the cages inapropriate, to few staff members worked here and medical service wasn't sufficient. In short words: the animals suffered more or less under the given conditions. It's also probable that some visitors provoke, disturb or even harm them.

From a Travel Blog:

"Entering through a gateway which is flanked by two huge garishly painted tigers you pay your $5.00 entrance. The leaflet I was given stated that this was the 'National Animal Resource Center'. The first enclosure is crocodiles which you view from above, looking down upon a pond packed with water lilies and weed. It would not look too bad except there was almost as many plastic water bottles floating about as there was lily pads. Just outside there was a big garish gory frieze/statue compilation showing people being eaten by alligators.

These big odd fluorescent gaudy statues are all over the zoo. Some are animals, some are people, some are fruit. I am sure there must be a historic or fabled reason behind them. Throughout the park music and some sort of chatter is being piped out over loudspeakers. It is not nice.

Enclosures? I don't think there is a nice one in the whole zoo. There are many that just scrape by because they provide shade but they are all inadequate. Only the bear enclosure had a barrier (which was broken). One of the tiger enclosures had half a barrier. I mean, what is the point? So nothing else, not even the elephants! It would not have been so bad if there was adequate supervision but there wasn't. I only saw two staff members and this place is very spread out. The bull elephant had 2' long needle sharp tusks and was a wicked little beast. Maybe his temperament was because the enclosure had not been cleaned in four days or because there was no food in evidence. Both elephants were underweight. These elephants were not chained, not supervised and there was no barrier. The cow was chewing on a shovel. Maybe they could not clean the enclosure because of this.

There was no evidence of enrichment anywhere. That said I saw no evidence of stress or stereotypic behaviour. It may well have been because everything was too hot and they were taking a siesta. It was hot! One enclosure held two young sun bears which were obviously being hand reared. They were sharing the enclosure with a young gibbon. As I approached the cage the gibbon swung down and held on hugging one of the bears. It looked dead cute and I wondered how the relationship would develop. A little further on there was another enclosure with larger gibbons in with larger bears. It is a mix that seems to work, even in the small space available.

The lions had two cubs. They were white, one especially so. The lion and tiger enclosures at the far back of the zoo were some of the largest and yet were still far too small".

The entrance fee for foreigners is $4, ($1 for Khmers) and a small fee if you want to drive around the zoo (it's a lot to walk around everywhere).
To get here from downtown Kampot, hop on a motorcycle for a 20 minute ride ($1.25), a tuk tuk ($2.50 for one person, more for 2 to 4), or a car (maybe $5?). The zoo is located on the opposite side of the river from Kampot City, about 15 minutes North. There's also several restaurants and a waterfall (rapids) on the way or just past the zoo. If you go in the morning or early afternoon, bring some drinks, as it can get hot. In the afternoon, a few drink places open inside the zoo.