Chiang Mai : Stevie and the tigers.

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Today was Steve's Christmas treat to himself.  A visit to the Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom sanctuary and breeding centre.  I had originally intended to go there on Christmas Day in foolish christmas hat; the works however I felt a touch off colour on the festive morning in question and then soon succumbed to hostel inertia, food and Star Wars drinking games.  "Oh well!"  You can't do something cultured and stimulating everyday I guess.  But don't knock Star Wars drinking games! ;D

The Tiger Kingdom is a relatively recent venture.  The centre, owned by established Thai zoological entrepreneurs has only been opened since March of this year.  Its aim is to provide a safe, healthy environment for an expanding tiger breeding programme whilst providing the kind of experience that will guarantee that the tourist dollars they need to continue walking through the door.

:D Nah, he didn't find it funny either :)
  Of course before the fun and tiger voyeruism begins, as with all such things, there are several ethical questions that itch in the mind a little.  Is it really about caring for the tigers?  Are they well treated and looked after?  The important broader issue of animals kept under any form of 'captivity' no matter how comfy, or even gilded the cages may appear to be.  The 'visitor' cages here are spacious, clean and well kept seemingly.  The concept of 'spaciousness' though is really a non-started when you consider that in the wild the average tiger territory is measured in several hundreds of square kilometres per animal.  The tigers at Tiger Kingdom, as with most such sanctuaries and zoos are bred and born into captivity and will remain in captivity for their entire lives (15 - 20 years).
  It is not possible to release captivity bred tigers successfully back into the wild.  This is unfortunate as all breeds of tiger remain on the endangered species lists and I was told today that there are only about 5,000 left in the world!!!  Whether this is true or not, I know not.  5,000 sounds a little low to me even for such a famously troubled species. 

At tiger kingdom the tigers are available for viewing and posing'n' petting (yeah, yeah, I know the ethical questions keep ringing in the mind's ear) in 4 separate age groups.  There are baby cubs; 3-4 month old cubs; the tiger equivilent of adolescents and then the 'Big Cats', approaching full grown adults at 15 months.  I won't expand on the practicalities of the park at this time as may shortly write a review.

I had a really, really great time in my hour and a half or so at Tiger Kingdom.  A truly unique experience in my life and one I know that my Aunty will be quite envious of as she's absolutely nutso about these beautiful, beautiful creatures.  It's the redhead in all us Weses, attracted to funky red-haired creatures :D  The cubs are pretty playful.  Certainly with each other.  Rolling, play-biting and bopping each other in the moosh, teasingly baring their teeth.  The adults are far more disinterested in your presence and rightly so.  Tigers are ostensibly night creatures, especially when in their natural environ, so spend large portions of the day asleep and lounging about within their confines.  Some of them appear completely passed out in true cat-nap style.

(tiger) Muju 2 [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
  This provokes mild concerns of animal treatment again as there are a number of such 'tiger parks' in Thailand.  Most notably more longstanding and known tourist draws such as the Tiger Temple south of Bangkok.  Not all of these places are so fully concerned about the tigers' wellbeing and heavy sedation of the creatures is alleged to  be practiced.  Not so the case (apparently) at Tiger Kingdom.  And despite the midday siesta drowsiness this does not appear to be the case with the tigers suddenly rearing up with alarming speed and padding around the enclosures.

After returning to town I spend the day strolling around the sunny streets of Chiang Mai, taking in some more Wats and the ever-present and rotund golden buddhas contained within them.  The evening is a disappointing meal with the boyz from SpicyThai and generally chilling out.

 

KeikoCreative says:
If the adults turn active u will be in the red zone I guess:P Nice and interesting blog u have there:P Just had couple of meetups, missing u already:P Glad that u are enjoying yourself, if u are by any chance in singapore oh teleport me please ha ha:D Enjoy the rest of your journey to the world!
Posted on: Jan 23, 2009
Biglush_23 says:
Wow ^^ so goood!!!
Posted on: Dec 31, 2008
alicegourmet says:
Wow...you were taking a lot of pics with the Tigers!
Posted on: Dec 27, 2008
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:D  Nah, he didnt find it funny e…
:D Nah, he didn't find it funny …
(tiger) Muju 2 [www.mujuworld.co.u…
(tiger) Muju 2 [www.mujuworld.co.…
Is he saying I love you? :)
Is he saying "I love you?" :)
Boo!
"Boo!"
Playful kids (4 month old tiger cu…
Playful kids (4 month old tiger c…
;D
;D
Tiger whiskers (abstract)
Tiger whiskers (abstract)
Tiger tooth (abstract)
Tiger tooth (abstract)
Tiger back (abstract)
Tiger back (abstract)
(tiger) Muju [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
(tiger) Muju [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
Stevie & his ginger Bro.
Stevie & his ginger Bro.
New the tiger chooses coconut ov…
'New' the tiger chooses coconut o…
Chiang Mai.  The entire of te Old…
Chiang Mai. The entire of te 'Ol…
The Three Kings Monument, Chiang M…
The Three Kings Monument, Chiang …
Wat Chedi Luang sits at Chiang Mai…
Wat Chedi Luang sits at Chiang Ma…
Wat Chedi Luang pavement (abstract)
Wat Chedi Luang pavement (abstract)
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai.
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai.
Tree Print
'Tree Print'
Wat
Wat
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes