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Stripes are in . . . tourists enjoy the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai

Tiger Kingdom Set to Roar on Phuket

Monday, June 3, 2013
PHUKET: A branch of the popular Tiger Kingdom tourist attraction is preparing to open on Phuket, possibly as soon as June 19, Phuketwan has learned.

In Chiang Mai, tourists pet and pat tigers at the Tiger Kindom that opened 10 kilometres from the city in 2008.

On Phuket a large ''TIGER KINGDOM'' sign is now visible from Phrabaramee Road, in Kathu, behind the go kart track. There's a substantial building beneath it.

The opening of a Tiger Kingdom branch on Phuket would provide Phuket with one more reason for tourists to come to Phuket and one less reason for them to travel to other parts of Thailand.

It's believed the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai has been very successful. Patrons are offered the choice of admission to enclosures with newborn, small tigers, medium tigers and big cats. Prices are higher for the younger animals.

Although there are constant concerns from environmentalists about the welfare of tigers in captivity in Thailand, the Tiger Kingdom says none of their tigers are drugged or tranquilised, and that chains and restraints are not used.

It's believed the Trakarn Zoo in Ubon Ratchathani province has supplied the tigers for the Chiang Mai venture and the zoo currently holds about 70 tigers.

The Phuket branch - at a cost of about 100 million baht - would most likely open similar hours, from 9am to 6pm, on the 10 rai site behind the go kart track.

Photos of tourists with tigers are popular and there's also a restaurant at the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai.

Representatives from Tiger Kingdom could not be contacted to confirm the ''soft'' opening date on Phuket of June 19.

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Oh no!

Posted by Anonymous on June 3, 2013 18:44

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"The Tiger Kingdom says none of their tigers are drugged or tranquilised, and that chains and restraints are not used"" I would love to stroke and pet these animals but clearly they are instictively hunting animals and if this was the case it would be the only place in the world to do this. Just last week a lady was killed in the UK at a tiger park. I won't put my money into something like this, in the UK/Australia they are kept behind thick glass windows and the trainers actually sleep with the tigers from when they are small I was told at the Steve Irwin zoo.

Posted by Lost In Translation on June 3, 2013 18:51

Editor Comment:

Are tigers native to Britain and Australia? It has always seemed to me that, under the right conditions, most wild animals can become tame. (Whether they should be confined or not is another issue.) If you have information to the contrary, please give us the sources. Judging from other tiger places throughout Thailand, tigers are docile when they choose to be.

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This not an extension of the Tiger king (queen) (ladyboy) dom on Bangla, San Sabai, and Soi Sai Kor between San Sabai and Jungceylon?

Posted by juswunderin on June 3, 2013 18:57

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Entrance fee, farang 1000b thai 100b ????

Posted by Simon on June 3, 2013 19:11

Editor Comment:

Have you dome any research, Simon, or are you just making an ill-informed guess of the kind that intelligent readers never make? i am beginning to understand why Sweden has problems.

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There was an interesting experiment undertaken by (I think) Soviet scientists long time ago. They wanted to raise a wolf cub among dog puppies in a normal human family environment to see if behavior and genetics could be overcome by environmental factors.

Unfortunately the experiment failed to produce a tame wolf. At the age of 6 months it started to behave more and more like a wild animal and the experiment had to be halted.

Another Soviet experiment used thousands of farmed foxes over a couple of decades instead of just the one animal in the wolf experiment. They were also by and large unable to produce tame individuals with one interesting exception.

They discovered that a precious few animals had the genetic characteristics to become tame and by carefully planned breeding they were able to produce a breed of fox cubs that would become tame. This result was proven to be predictable and reliable but was so rare in nature that genetic manipulation was required.


Taking those results into account, it would be correct to say that some wild animals can become tame but this has to be supported by the right genetics. Circumstances and environmental factors do not overcome or alter genetically coded behavior.

It can also be deducted that if the genetics are not taken into account, such activities as planned at this tiger park (or any other potentially dangerous wild animal park anywhere in the world) can have tragic consequences, as highlighted by the incident quoted by Lost in Translation.

If I was to visit these animals in circumstances where they could pounce on me if they felt like it, I would be very keen to know what kind of breeding and testing program they have to select the right individuals for such high-risk activities.

Many may remember the incident with Siegfried and Roy and their white tigers. In 2003 Roy was seriously injured when one of the tigers bit him by the neck.

Most experts say the tiger did not intend to harm him but was only attempting to pick Roy up after he fell down. The natural way for a tiger to pick it's cubs up would be to grab them by the neck with it's teeth.

Unfortunately when the "cub" happens to be a human, it doesn't end well.

You can find info on that incident here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_%26_Roy

Having said all that, I'm against keeping wild animals in captivity for profit and would not support such business ventures but that's an individual choice for everyone to make based on their own morals and this comment is not intended to impose mine on anyone else. Just trying to provide some (hopefully) interesting information.

Posted by ThaiMike on June 3, 2013 20:05

Editor Comment:

In that regard, some humans are always going to be killers. Why it should be ''breeding'' in animals and by choice in humans shows the real dangers.

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@Anonymous - my thoughts exactly.
Sickening news as far as i'm concerned.

Posted by G Horne on June 3, 2013 20:13

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I surprised that, that idea of such a "Tiger Park" in Phuket, did not come from the BIG Sri Racha Tiger Zoo near Pattaya.
I visited that one several times and it is a questionable big facility, but overall and having my always getting excited sons with me, I liked it.
They to give you the possibility to make photos with young Tigers, even very small cubs, since a shorter time also with BIG Tigers. I would not try that choice!
And, they have different entry fees For Thais and Tourists.

Posted by Alfred on June 3, 2013 21:04

Editor Comment:

We wouldn't speculate about prices but there are certainly different entry costs at various entertainment venues on Phuket, and at the Phuket Zoo. One of these days, when privacy becomes a thing of the past, people will each quite fairly pay what they can afford.
What has happened in some places where rare animals are displayed is that rich tourists are able to pay the high admission costs but the people whose parents hunted the animals cannot afford the price of admission.
Tuk-tuk and taxi fares are far more iniquitous and unfair to all.

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My family & I have visited Tiger Kingdom in C.Mai many times over the years & it has never lost its attraction.

Yes, the tigers are bred & kept in captivity, but as their wild habitat diminishes & poachers take their toll, the future for many wild creatures is either breed in captivity or total extinction.

The tigers in Tiger Kingdom, C.Mai have always looked well fed, content & clearly dote on their keepers who have a fantastic relationship with them.

I am sure most people who visit Tiger Kingdom will find it a rewarding & uplifting experience.

Posted by Logic on June 3, 2013 22:22

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A wild carnivore can not be tamed, they can act tame, they cant even tame a chimp properly. Tiger Kingdom in CM has a lot of bad reviews if you google them. I for one will not visit zoos or anything like them.

Posted by Tim on June 3, 2013 23:51

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There is no way you can be safe with any tiger unless they have been doped up. yes some zoo keepers have a relationship with a tiger but only because they have formed a bond with that animal since its birth, but even then it could still attack. If these tigers were not under any sedation you can not trust these animals, i work at london zoo in regents park so i know how dangerous these animals are,only 2 weeks ago 2 tigers attacked sarah mcClay at a park in cumbria north of england no one knows why she went into there enclosure but they instinctively attacked her, you should not be any where near these animals there wild animals not pets....

Posted by Darren walker on June 4, 2013 02:27

Editor Comment:

Most of the animals mentioned in Chiang Mai appear to be young. Perhaps the real danger comes when the tigers mature.

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Phuket is becoming more like a Victorian circus with every new business venture...what next? swimming with dolphins? Jesus wept. Why does this island have to keep going backwards?

Posted by ElCapitan on June 4, 2013 07:30

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Ed, history is proof, how many animal workers have been killed by tigers. It is not the tiger's fault. These are natural killers, not on an individual level that is what they do in the wild and over millions of years therefore it is in their DNA literally like a domestic cat that is well fed will always chase and attack a mouse if he/she sees one. I am a staunch animal lover so my views are always on the animal's side. How content can a tiger be when it has little to stimulate it like in the wild when it is hiding, stalking and trying to catch it's food. In addition when the males are looking to mate I would think they are very aggressive if someone goes near to the female cat he has claimed.

Posted by Lost In Translation on June 4, 2013 10:57

Editor Comment:

Going into a cage with a docile adolescent tiger probably is far less risky than riding a motorcycle on Phuket, judging from the number of deaths and injuries. As previously noted, the tigers' more fearsome instincts arrive with adulthood. These are juveniles. Whether you love animals or not has no bearing on logic.

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Ed, my point is that this is not for the welfare of the tigers merely to make money for the owners. If the animals are juvenile please specify in your article. Are you telling me that juvenile tigers don't deserve to be happy and free. That is my point, safety is another issue.

Posted by Lost In Translation on June 4, 2013 11:47

Editor Comment:

Oh, so that's your point. Thank you, finally, for making it.

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@ed, was trying to be ironic, obviously it didn't work.......

Posted by Simon on June 4, 2013 13:34

Editor Comment:

Nah, not in text. Sorry.

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These tigers are accustomed to humans from the age of 2 weeks, 4 weeks before receiving their final vaccines, some tigers die due to diseases transmitted from the tourists to the cubs. They are trained through constant contact with people until they are around 3 or 4 months of age. Negative punishment is also used constantly. If it moves, it gets hit with bamboo, if it snarls, bites, plays - all are reasons to strike with the bamboo sticks. Keepers are not allowed to enter the enclosures without sticks, and are only allowed to progress to larger tigers when they have demonstrated a satisfactory amount of aggression towards the tigers.

The Thai entrance fee is 520THB and up depending on cage visited, not 100THB as previously mentioned. Foreigner fee is 1000+.

The tigers stay until they are around 24 months of age - when they naturally turn solitary in the wild. At this age they are turned over to the Ubon Ratchatani Tiger Zoo and it's terrible conditions. Many cubs that are too feisty for the job are sent early. Many cubs arrive in the middle of the night for 'training' - often inbred, sick and petrified of people.

It's possible to train a tiger using only positive re-inforcement. We're doing it right now. Tigers can be clicker trained, much the same as dogs. They are actually very intelligent and can be handled safely - it's just the laziness of the training at this facility that bothers me!

Posted by DeeDee on June 4, 2013 21:22

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Cats are cats! The average 'tabby' will take a swipe when it's bored with being petted. Just imagine what's going to happen when one of these is having a bad day.

Posted by agogohome on June 9, 2013 10:23


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