Today I went to a place called Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai. This is a tiger breeding centre that runs on the money generated by tourist paying to spend time in tiger cages with semi-tame tigers. Now they may look like over sized cats but they are not domestic animals. They have been around humans their whole life and are very relaxed with them but they are not completely safe and must be supervised. They would not bite someone for food but might nip them in playing. Apart from the smallest 2 month old tigers you will see us usually sitting behind the tigers and avoiding the head. This is both for our safety and because the care staff don't want the tigers to catch anything from us by their mouth getting too close to us. Visitors can only interact with adolescent tigers under 2 years old. After that they can be less playful and more grumpy. So the tigers retire across the country with other breeding centre and reserves. All the tigers we saw looked very happy and healthy. We went late morning when many of the tigers where settling down for a mid day snooze, they did not looked drugged as some people have claimed. Now I believe wild animals should live in the wild if possibly so I was a bit worried about coming here. But I also know that it is wise to keep a healthy diverse breeding stock of endangered animals in captivity to safeguard future genetic diversity for the dreamed for reintroduction schemes. Breeding centre like this may be a part of that solution. I must admit that over all it was fantastic fun.
Smallest (2-3 months old)
|All this playing around is tiring work!|
Small 5-7 months old
Gareth had a little sleep with this 5 month old beauty
Not everyone was asleep and lots of fun was had playing in the water.
"yeah, yeah just a little lower, yeah that's the spot"
Medium 8-10 months
Getting a bit bigger now, we have to start being more careful but still can give them hugs
Even big cats like their tummy scratched
Big 10-20 months
This was the oldest tiger we meet at 20 months he is about to retire from modelling and enjoy the good life on a reserve. Very dignified and professional.
It's just a yawn but look at those teeth!
This has been one of the most unique experiences of our lives.
To be so close with this amazing animals is unforgettable.