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A Phuketwan reporter on opening day at Tiger Kingdom in July last year

Aussie Tourist Mauled by Tiger

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
PHUKET: A visitor to the Tiger Kingdom animal attraction on Phuket was mauled by a tiger yesterday, Phuketwan has confirmed.

The man is understood to be an Australian in his 50s who survived the attack but required emergency treatment at a Phuket hospital.

Another Australian tourist who was close when the incident occurred said the mauling took place in a cage at the tourist attraction.

Visitors to Tiger Kingdom can pet the animals safely provided they follow strict rules. Tourists have the option of choosing the size of the tigers in the cage they enter.

The Australian who was nearby told other guests at a Patong hotel last night that the attack came suddenly and unexpectedly.

''Other animals in the enclosure showed an interest in what was going on,'' he said. ''The attendants quickly reacted and dragged the mauled man out.

''There was quite a lot of blood.''

Tiger Kingdom did not respond to calls from Phuketwan today. Managers were in a meeting, a reporter was told.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Been waiting for this.

Posted by Nicke on October 22, 2014 12:14


There is always an element of risk in approaching any large animal, even domestic, never mind wild animals kept in captivity. This is the first attack I have read about involving Tiger Kingdom, though millions must have visited the various TK venues over many years. There have been more elephant attacks in the times I have visited Thailand over the past 2 decades. I do hope this one proves not to be serious & wish the victim full recovery. TK should not be judged too harshly till this 'reported' attack is fully investigated & the root cause identified.

Posted by Logic on October 22, 2014 12:20

Editor Comment:

Indeed. And we do hope Tiger Kingdom always declares every attack.


It's about time.

Posted by Vfaye on October 22, 2014 12:23


Walk in food. Beats macdonalds chaps. Have you seen the size of those cats and you want to play with them? Had to happen sooner or later. Just think of the camp fire stories this Aussie is going to have?

Posted by Graham on October 22, 2014 12:25


This was only a question of time when it would happen. It's pure lunacy to put people in the same cage with full grown tigers.

It takes years of professional training to know how to handle these animals and even then strict safety measures are applied. Tiger Kingdom pays a Bt 800 commission to tuk-tuk drivers or tour agents to get people in. That's why they will bend over backwards in trying to convince people to visit it. Never mind safety concerns. Little wonder they do not wish to comment.

Posted by Herbert on October 22, 2014 12:28


These big cats can crush a human skull in an instant. I had a pet mountain lion when I was young and now when I look back, I was VERY stupid to have taken such a risk. Animals are not human and they don't think like humans.

Posted by Spiritrace on October 22, 2014 12:39


Wow that's terrible. I'm such a cat lover and one thing I would love to do is play with tigers but they can be so unpredictable. I've seen some terrible maulings on the internet so he is lucky to have gotten out alive. Its a risky business

Posted by carvets on October 22, 2014 13:01


That's paws for thought!

Posted by phonus on October 22, 2014 13:38


"Visitors to Tiger Kingdom can pet the animals safely provided they follow strict rules."

Who writes such drivel? Tigers are WILD animals and by nature predators and therefore won't follow any stupid rules humans dictate.

Anyone stupid enough to engage in such an activity deserves what they get... stupid is as stupid does.

Posted by Graham on October 22, 2014 14:18

Editor Comment:

You'll find that view contested, Graham, because the tigers raised in captivity are not WILD. Do a bit of research.


Thats why i said the other week they need tasser's so can tasser the cats if that happens,,

Posted by sean on October 22, 2014 16:09

Editor Comment:

They have tasers. They used one.


So you put animals that evolved over millions of years as the apex predator, fearless and hugely powerful and hunters 100% there are not many dead animals tigers eat, they have to kill to survive, they also have moods. Then we send humans to "invade" their space and look what happens. Do most if not all domesticated cats catch mice, this is instinct fact is fact, it will happen just how often, frankly I think it is crazy and so do most or possibly all developed countries. Can't say I have seen these animals being petted in London zoo? Another reason why some in the international community will look down on Thailand. The harse reality, the desire to make money out weights safety and cruelty.

Posted by Feisty Farang on October 22, 2014 16:45


To editor
Wild animals raised in captivity are still very dangerous.
Predatory behavior mechanisms are hard wired into such animals.

For any organization touting that its safe to do so, even with human designed rules is folly indeed and should be immediately closed down.

Posted by Genetic on October 22, 2014 17:26

Editor Comment:

There are dangers in all activities and the Tiger Kingdom people certainly need to be prepared to respond to the media if there is a mauling. Covering up incidents of this nature is not the answer. Let's hope they are more open and honest about problems in future than they have been today.


I've been to the one in CM and here in Phuket. I don't like the business model but a lot of tourist do.
The big majority of these tigers are born into captivities and therefore used to human contact from first hand. Yes, they are big but also closely monitored by several staff at any time.

I haven't heard about other incident in the past and I'm sure if there had, the media would have been all over it. As Logic say "TK should not be judged too harshly till this 'reported' attack is fully investigated & the root cause identified" but it so easy to jump to stupid comments and idiotic conclusions.

A lot of comments are from people who clearly never been to TK. It's the same people complaining about everything going on in Phuket and it really starts to be a bit pathetic.

Posted by Zenobiz on October 22, 2014 17:46

Editor Comment:

We were given the impression that TK did not want this incident reported and that should raise alarm bells with you and other readers. Their reaction should be total honesty about all incidents. If the first reaction is to cover everything up, our first question to the management will be: how many incidents have there been of this kind in the past? We hope TK provides some straight answers, and soon.

We'd also be interested to know what the rates are for taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers who bring them customers.


"We'd also be interested to know what the rates are for taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers who bring them customers"

Through an unusual set of circumstances I was in a position to gauge commissions paid by some popular Phuket attractions. As I mentioned before, TK pays Bt 800. If a tour agent sells it and an "affiliated" tuk-tuk driver takes the customers there, the share is usually 300 for the tour agent, 500 for the tuk-tuk driver.

This is by no means unusual or even a lot here. Phi-Phi speed boat trips commonly cost around Bt 3000. Net price is Bt 1000, leaving a whopping Bt 2000 in commission.

It's not hard to verify this if one is a bit smart about it. Simply send Thai staff promoting any tour/venue to tour agents and tuk-tuk drivers and they will be all too keen to reveal how much others are paying them to make you realize your business should pay them more too.

Try to offer them 20% and they will laugh in your face.

As to "domesticating" wild animals, it's a flawed assumption to think that environmental factors can "rewire" a wild animal. This has been scientifically proven where animals far closer related to domesticated animals than tigers were raised from birth with humans. Specifically several wolf puppies in different families together with dog puppies.

The experiment clearly showed that instinctive wild behavior cannot be conditioned out. After a few months the wolf puppies started to become increasingly aggressive and unpredictable, to a degree that the experiment had to be halted for safety concerns.

Other examples include similar experiments with Chimpanzees, Foxes and Orangutans, among others.

Many, including me, would like to believe it is possible to domesticate a wild animal but unfortunately science has proven it is, if not entirely impossible, then at least highly unlikely to succeed.

Add to all this the fact that unlike wolves and chimps, tigers are solitary, needing a very large territory. The mere fact that they are forced to co-habit even just with their own kind is already highly unnatural and major cause for distress and anxiety.

Throw in a few humans on a daily basis in the mix and no-one should be surprised if things like this happen.

Posted by Herbert on October 22, 2014 19:04

Editor Comment:

Does evidence relating to one type of animal have application in relation to others? No. I think you'll find the evidence in relation to tigers - and other felines - is that they are not by nature aggressive. I am sure this has all been clearly established.


Let s be honest. (moderated)

Posted by Vermor on October 22, 2014 19:14

Editor Comment:

When people start a comment with ''let's be honest'' the only guarantee is that they are about to say something that's highly contentious. Let's be factual, please.


Why anyone patronizes these kind of animal attractions I will never know.

Posted by The Night Mare on October 22, 2014 19:15


The only good thing about this story is the Phuketwan reporter in the picture.

Is she married?

Posted by Smithy on October 22, 2014 20:24

Editor Comment:

Since the day at the Tiger Park, the reporter has married. The hope is that she survives both events.


I'm not an expert on animal behavior, only citing studies I know of.

Many are familiar with Siegfried and Roy and their white tigers in Las Vegas and the tragic accident. Roy tripped on the stage and a 7y old tiger grabbed him by the neck, nearly killing him.

The tiger was not aggressive but it's a natural instinct for tigers to pick their cubs up by the neck. In this instance it was trying to help and protect Roy.

Point being, wild animals are very difficult to control or predict, even if they appear non-aggressive.

If you know of studies proving the contrary, I'd be curious to read them.

Posted by Herbert on October 22, 2014 23:02

Editor Comment:

Like you, I am no animal behavior expert. As you say, many are familiar with Siegfried and Roy's case. Many are also familiar with the case of the Australian television icon Steve Irwin, who was killed by a stingray. These notorious incidents should be considered for what they are: the exception, not the rule. There is no evidence that tigers raised in captivity behave as they would in the wild.


like they say ...........

"Never queue behind the Devil in a post office as the Devil can take many forms"

Posted by Jake on October 23, 2014 08:44

Editor Comment:

Are there still post offices?


Phuketwan should never have reported so glowingly of this place, an obvious hazard both to people and to the captive tigers.

Posted by Anonymous on October 23, 2014 11:43

Editor Comment:

Glowingly? I don't believe that's appropriate, anonymous. The photographs tell the story.


Paul has said he rode an elephant prior to visiting the tigers. Tigers are born to hate elephants. So by comparison, get a person to pet the tigers then go straight away to ride an elephant. I would love to see a video of the elephants reaction to the tigers scent? Then will elephants be bad too? Elephants, monkeys, snakes, tigers and humans have all attacked human beings on Phuket.

Posted by Graham B on October 23, 2014 18:11


I have been to phuket tiger kingdom. I was happy to go because I knew that the Tigers were treated well and not sedated. There is definitely and element of risk and I felt fear whilst in their with the tiger especially when it turned around and growled at me.

The Tigers are very well trained and obviously the guy was just there at the wrong time. Who knows that set it off. It could have been a smell or, if he touched the tiger in the wrong place

Posted by Paula on October 23, 2014 19:19


Alright, let s be factual then,
Tiger are born in captivity. They are feed and entertain in captivity. There are learning "the fear of taser, staff,laser, whatever... to be "relax" when tourist approch.
If it s was human, we will call that Concentration Camp !

Posted by vermor on October 24, 2014 11:29

Editor Comment:

If your species was in danger or dying out, vermor, you might be quite content with a safe home where you were well-fed, taken care of and free from predators. The point is that areas where tigers can be safe in the wild are being reduced rapidly. Why not turn your attention to preserving what areas are left for tigers to live? Bleating about those who are safe in captivity changes nothing.


Tiger kingdom in Phuket should be closed down. These wonderful creatures are being terribly exploited and people who visit this place are to blame. If tourists did not go there at all the place cannot be funded and will eventually close.

Posted by Corinne on November 21, 2014 06:42

Wednesday August 17, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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