Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai
Getting up close and personal with the true king of the jungle definitely sounds intriguing but after doing our research and reading disparaging reviews and insights regarding drugged tigers and abuses we didn't plan to see the tigers in Thailand. Then we came across first hand accounts that Tiger Kingdom did not partake is such things. This made us re-think our decision . So we just headed over to Tiger Kingdom ourselves to see what all the fuss and controversy was about. Tiger Kingdom is essentially a petting zoo with extremely dangerous inhabitants. Yes, you have to sign a waiver before interacting with the animals because YES you could die! No worries though, they have a first aid clinic right on premise. The zoo does participate in breeding programs and treats their tigers well (as well as can be expected for an animal that prefers to be in the wild). Since the cats are raised from birth in captivity they do have a level of comfort with the presence of humans around. In other words, you're viewed as the meal provider and not the meal. You still have to sign a disclaimer before The tigers are trained and fairly docile during the day, but some precaution is definitely taken.You're not suppose to touch their faces or anywhere near. When petting them you also have to use a heavy hand. A light pet just annoys the tiger the way a fly or other insect would. The cats were also definitely not drugged. Because they are primarily nocturnal they lounge around mostly in the day. However, every so often they'll get the urge and start to play with one another, jump in their pool to beat the heat, or even play with the trainer's glorified "fake mouse on a string" toy. Though extremely beautiful, you get the feeling that their powerful claws and teeth could rid you of your head in an instant. As you can see in the photos, Sarah got that feeling more than once. On the other hand, the newborn tiger we had the privilege of visiting with was the exact opposite. Cute doesn't even begin to describe the little guy. Now I know why people abandon all reason and keep these animals as pets. One look, one touch and you fall in love. Oh, and when the cub wakes up to play (he woke up and played right before we had our turn to visit - bummer) it is hilarious. Sarah had the time of her life and now has taken on her title as "Tiger Temptress". Meow indeed.