Thailand, March 2010

My Chiang Mai Kitties

Fifteen Minutes with a Tiger

Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand features tame tigers that have been hand reared. However, some of the posters advertising the price for a chance to visit with the tigers state, “insurance included.”

Visitors can choose among small (kittens), medium and large tigers to visit. We chose the large, which were two 18-month old males. Our package did NOT include insurance.

Big Kitty Bliss

Tiger Love

Tigers do not purr. But these kitties were lazy and enjoying an afternoon nap on a very hot day — like every other day in Thailand — at least 100 degrees and the same humidity. Several trainers entered the large cage with my travel companions and me. The trainers had only a small stick — like a police night stick. The tigers are not drugged and are accustomed to being with people. They are trained not to bite humans using this stick with a tap on their nose — as is used in dog training. Although electric shock, whips, chains, declawing, drugging and food deprivation/reward are methods sometimes used on tigers elsewhere, Tiger Kingdom believes the method of “nose tapping” is the only method that reduces harm to the tigers and remains a successful way of preventing human and tiger injury. I did not have time to investigate the validity of this claim and hope it is true.

The price of our visit — $10 for 15 minutes with the tiger — helps raise money to support the Ubon Zoo in Ubonrachatani and to insure the continuation of the endangered Indo-Chinese (or Corbett’s) tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti), a subspecies of tiger found in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. There are only about 120 wild Indo-Chinese tigers left in Thailand, mostly in the northeast. Adult male tigers weigh about 400 pounds and measure 9 feet in length. Females weigh about 250 pounds and measure about 8 feet. Entering a tiger’s cage, touching, patting, and even listening to the beating hearts of these magnificent cats is the experience of a lifetime.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Thailand, March 2010

  1. Yes, we do heart tigers and those to love them. Sounds like you had a wonderful excursion.

  2. OMG, Reed! I completely and totally envy you! What a fantastic opportunity you had to get up close and personal with those beautiful cats. Thanks so much for posting your story and photos.
    All the best, Andy

  3. Debbie Mihal

    Wow, Reed. That’s something I dream of doing, but am not sure if I’d do if I got the chance. Beautiful creatures.

  4. i am sure you’ll remember these moments for you lifetime. What an adventure.

  5. Reed, you and these tigers look so content! I’ve been enjoying all your adventures in your blog, especially your snorkeling in the lagoon, but this is a real gem. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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