Thailand: Tiger Kingdom
Half an hour cuddling with tigers! – three 2-year old adults and three 7-month old cubs! There are only around 3 thousand tigers left in the wild (2200 Bengal tigers in India, 330 Siberian tigers in Russia, 300 Malayan tigers in Malaysia, 250 Indochinese tigers in Thailand/Myanmar and around 100 in Nepal/Bhutan/Bangladesh), but there are 15 thousand in captivity, so chances are you are more likely to see a tiger in a zoo then in the jungle. There are about two dozen tigers at the Tiger Kingdom, it’s a breeding center supplying many places around the world with tigers. The animals are habituated from birth and are exposed to contact and interaction with humans all their lives, thus allowing people to visit and get close with them. These animals cannot be released into the wild, they are basically big domestic cats. Despite reading some reports that these tigers are drugged, I was assured they are not and they didn’t appear to be so – the cubs were quite agile and active. The adults were sleeping, but that’s what most of big cats do 95% of the time (no different then wild lions in Africa). Truly an amazing experience to sit or lie next to or pet a living breathing tiger! Or even better play with a baby cub!