Photograpy and thoughts from a life worth living. Currently traveling indefinitely through SE Asia, the Mediterranean region, Europe, India, and more. Contact me via the links below! Photos shot with Ricoh GR and GoPro Hero 3+ Black.
Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai. Any place that offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with these beautiful animals should be filled with skepticism. Here are my thoughts.
Good: Hugs, not drugs. The animals are well fed and cared for by fantastic staff that grooms them for human interaction from a very young age. From all angles it seems like the the tigers are genuinely looked after and, of course, photo opportunities are abundant.
Not-so-good: Tourism over education. Tigers here are born and bred on site and will never, of course, be released into their natural habitat, nor will they ever roam very much at all in the small areas they live. They may be well taken care of, but the reality is that these are big, beautiful, domesticated cats - not wild animals. While that’s for the most part expected, they could do a lot more to educate the thousands of daily visitors on the current plight of this incredible animal. Unfortunately a lot of people may come and go without ever knowing that the 3,000 or so left in the wild are disappearing quickly - hopefully that will change as their facilities grow.
So is it ethical? It’s great that they’re helping to keep the cats around, but seeing them lounging around for photos all day like they do here will leave a sour, selfish taste in your mouth, especially considering the nonexistent educational component. The Kingdom does, however, do it’s part to responsibly care for the animals; so if you’re okay with the idea that these cats are here to stay or be sold to a zoo, it’s an exciting experience. I have mixed feelings, but I will say that those little ones are pretty damn cute!