So much has been written about Tiger Kingdom I no longer know what to believe BUT this was a treat for my daughter Jemma and we chose to visit it.
It is new so obviously it looked clean and well managed. It was on a smaller site than I had anticipated.
This does raise the next point - are they docile because they are hand reared to be so?
The pamphlet raises the question:
Are any of the tigers here drugged?
And in the following statement it does not say NO - bad English, bad marketing or this was not read as a naturally English speaking person?
There seems to be so many 'packages' for sale - all size tigers / with a photographer / only one size that it all became quite bewildering
There were a number of smaller cages within the enclosure and these held some large tigers in a very sterile environment.
Other large tigers were playing in the grassed areas or in the water - the staff were playing with with the tigers - with what looked like a bamboo stick with rags on the end BUT the tigers were jumping about and following it. There were large tigers on the grass being embraced by the human visitors and the tigers seemed to be quite docile.
The smaller enclosure for the smaller tigers was also quite sterile but none of the smaller tigers were enclosed on their own cage.
On entering the 'pen' with three 'small tigers' I noticed that this was an experience that my daughter was totally enthralled. She listened carefully to the guides and did exactly what she was asked (maybe I should carry a small bamboo stick - JOKE!)
The staff were extraordinarily attentive and encouraged Jemma to carefully stroke the tiger.
Then Jemma lay on the tiger - beautiful and then Jemma wanted to do this with each of the three tigers in the pen
I understand that looking at the paperwork you will be given 10 minutes in the pen with the tiger and I am happy that Jemma received more - it was not busy and only one couple came into the pen whilst we were there.
What is it like when it is busy?
After the three small tigers Jemma was excited and wanted to meet a big tiger and I was happy to read that she is not old enough to enter a cage with a large tiger.
Would I approach and stroke a big tiger? - NO.
Do I think that this is the best conditions to keep the animals? - NO.
Do I think that we could use it as a source of education - YES.
BUT this approach to mix the education of the environment is not done very well here in Thailand - the company that excels would be John Gray Sea Canoe - learning and protecting the environment at the same time.