Grabbing my bucket list notebook, I can finally tick off this dream of hugging a big cat. Back in 2018, we finally went on living the dream of getting near the wild beasts at Tiger Park in Pattaya, Thailand. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Although it was pretty scary at the beginning, the team of handlers made us feel comfortable to get near these magnificent cats which were looking healthy and active!
Exposing animal abuse at Sriracha Tiger Zoo and Million Years Stone Park
However, after the trip, I was able to read some articles regarding tigers being held in captivity for growing market in Thailand. Although this is not pertaining Tiger Park, there were investigations made on the tiger entertainment industries in Thailand which exposed the true scale of animal abuse. Two of which hitting the top spot were Sriracha Tiger Zoo and Million Years Stone Park.
According to BBC documentary, at the Sriracha Tiger zoo, cubs kept in small cages are seen being passed from lap to lap for tourist photos. Meanwhile, at the Million Years Stone Park, chained-up adult tigers are poked and prodded with sticks until they roar. That’s why they were famous for the “roaring tiger selfie”. Adult tigers were chained around their necks on a platform as a seemingly endless stream of tourists took turns to take photos with them.
Tiger Park claims to be a safe natural environment for tigers
Tiger Park claims that they are not a tiger farm which grows tigers for sale and exchange of their parts. They also believe that they promote an environment where tigers and humans can live harmoniously together. The tigers are brought up by and with people. Since birth, these tigers are trained by selected professionals.
Hugging the wild beasts at Tiger Park in Pattaya
Tiger Park in Pattaya has four sizes of tigers categorized according to their ages:
- Smallest tiger 2-5 months
- Small tiger 6-12 months
- Medium tiger 13-18 months
- Big tiger 19-36 months
The tigers were very used to humans. Contrary to what most people say, they are very laid back but they don’t seem to be drugged in any way. My cats at home spend about 20 hours sleeping every single day, and no, they aren’t drugged. Tigers are just big cats, right? When we went to Tiger Park in Pattaya, some of the tigers were very active and playful. Although they seem to be harmless, we were still very cautious because hey, they were so enormous that they could move from a gentle giant to a bloody one real quick! As much as possible, we tried not to upset them because they could easily blow us!
The place is super clean and did not exhibit any foul smell as what reports from other tiger parks said. The staff are accommodating, as well. There are places for you to enjoy a cup of coffee and lunch buffet. There was also a souvenir shop for you to visit.
By strictly following the rules of safety and hygience, this rare opportunity to safely get up close with these unsedated and unleashed big cats will surely delight you. Always remember to be responsible.
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Cha of Little Misadvencha is a Filipino Civil Engineer, researcher and a fur mom. She came from General Santos City and finds that everything in life teaches her a lesson. She is inspired to write about and out of her experiences, but later found out that it was her experiences that actually inspire her.