Ladies and Gentlemen, I have just hugged a tiger!!!
Actually 3 tigers!!! Mind you, they were the young tigers (because the line for the big cats were too long), but they were tigers nonetheless!!!
I always wanted to own a tiger, a white tiger specifically. However, since it’s not exactly possible, I’ll settle for holding them, even for just a few minutes.
I love cats and I especially love tigers! I think this is all thanks to Tigger, from “Winnie the Pooh,” just cuz he was the only cartoon character I could relate to when I was a child. But asides from that, seriously!!! Aren’t they not just the cutest things ever!!???
Now for anyone who checks TripAdvisor, despite its 4-star status, it has many negative reviews, as well. These clients’ main complaints covered the exhaustion of the tigers, how they’re so lethargic and that they’re possibly drugged and all. For those rated the Tiger Kingdom low, they rave on how unethical it was to support this cause.
From my visit this morning, I got what they were saying. Where are the real tigers? The animals we know as ones that are wild and free? What happened to the might and the dignity of these predators who are known to be on top of the food chain? Where are the strength and speed these great cats are known for?
It’s was heart-wrenching, while I watched them from the other side of the cage, I was facing my own personal dilemma. To go or not to go? To pay and support this tourist trap or not? After an hour or so, pacing back and forth at the hallway where we could see people visit, touch, and hug the tigers, I was torn!
Obviously, I caved, bought a ticket and went inside to hug me some kitties!!!! And I’m not as ashamed as I thought I would be. (Mind you, I am. I jumped the bandwagon and fell into the tourist trap, but I’m still sleeping well tonight). Sure, the tigers were caged, disturbed from their sleep, somewhat stressed by the hassles of everyday ventures, but I was surprised that most of their caretakers were actually quite gentle with them. Or at least to the young ones that I visited, they were.
Tigers are now endangered species in Southeast Asia. Tiger Kingdom is actually breeding the tigers and most, if not all the cats in the establishment are born in domestic care. They seemed well-fed and clean. They didn’t smell as bad as I imagined them to be. Therefore, to a certain extent, this is somewhat like an conservation center (though I must say, I’m using this term rather loosely… okay, very loosely) that protects them from being poached. So on a positive note, they are doing some good.
I think I’ve come to a point that I’m not going to look at this through black and white. It’s life in which there are good and bad things to it.
Does Tiger Kingdom have room for improvement? How about a house for improvement?! But mind you, this is life. There is always something one should develop. If one doesn’t grow, then one is basically dead, right?
For me, Tiger Kingdom needed to improve in these aspects:
Their food services needed to be improved and they need more variety of food for their price at 200 Baht.
Their ticketing staff needed better manners. One lady accused me of cutting the line despite the fact that I was so behind the guy.
Their prices needed to be somewhat lowered. (Since they’re not taking responsibility anyway if you get scratched, bitten, or eaten, what’s the point of including “insurance” in their price tag?)
Their tigers do need to be checked by an outside, third-party to see if they really are in good conditions in international standards of domestic care for wild animals (if that kind of thing exists…)
Now in terms of the good side, I would ask:
Was it a great experience? So much fun!
Would I do it again? Heck yea!
I probably won’t go again until next year, but I’m already so excited at just the thought of seeing these big kitties again!!!
Warning, this is a tourist trap! But as someone said this morning, ‘this is the kind of tourist trap we don’t mind getting trapped in.’ And I must say, I wholeheartedly agree!