Many of the tourists who visit Chiang Mai include as one of the activities to do in the city the visit to the famous Tiger Kingdom. Although it does not have the fame or reports of animal abuse as the Kanchanaburi Tiger Temple, these tourists are unaware of the reality behind this center and what we contribute with their visit.
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CHIANG MAI’S TIGER KINGDOM, ANIMAL MISTREATMENT?
The way to interact with tigers in Chiang Mai is based on visiting the animals of different ages and having your picture taken with them, being with the tigers inside their cages. Apart from the entrance fee to the enclosure, the visitor pays depending on how many times and with which animal he wants to take pictures. Of course, it costs more to take pictures with tigers and cubs.
It is also explained to you that tigers are not sedated and that the tiger is naturally an animal that spends the whole day sleeping or resting and is activated to hunt only at night. They also explain that since they have been raised in captivity as cubs, they have become accustomed to humane treatment and that especially before the tourists visit, they have been well fed. What they don’t tell you is that the conditions that tigers have are not the best for an animal of their characteristics and natural behaviour and the staff don’t have the knowledge to know what to do in case of an accidental attack.
Although, as we said before, it is not like the Kanchanaburi Tiger Temple, we must always understand that it is not its natural habitat nor is it a center for the recovery of the species as such, with projects for the release into the wild and introduction into natural habitats or awareness of the problems of the tiger, its loss of habitat and the trafficking of its skins, organs and fangs.
The Tiger Kingdom of Chiang Mai could be more like a zoo, in fact some of the offspring you will see will be sold to zoos anywhere in the world and this is the ethically questionable, which tourists should always understand.
Now, are we aware of why we want to make the visit? Are we thinking coldly because we would like to visit Chiang Mai’s Tiger Kingdom? Is it out of an interest in learning about the problems and conservation of the wild tiger or is it just a whim to have a photographic memory with them or playing with the cubs as if they were a kitten? These are questions that only you and your conscience can answer.
Our advice is not to visit the place in the same way that we believe that zoos should not be visited, we believe that a photo with this wonderful animal is not so important and above all it is just another tourist that contributes to the mistreatment of these animals.
Remember that as tourists it is our obligation to practice responsible tourism and not to promote any kind of animal abuse.
Remember that if your idea is to know the reality of the elephants in Thailand the only center that has international recognition for their work is the ENP.
For more information on responsible tourism in our trip to Thailand you can check the following link our Thailand Guide with the Backpack.