Tigers in Kanchanaburi, ThailandYesterday I took a tour of a Tiger park/refuge operated by Buddhist Monks about an hour north of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. This is east of Bangkok not far from the Thai/Burma border. It's a big place and they apparently have 127 Tigers there. They also keep other animals such as Water Buffalo, Sun Bears and Wild Boars, but Tigers are the main event.
|Either a Baby or this one shrank in the wash… okay, just a baby and very cute.|
|No troubles buddy or we bust out the broom. Don't make me come back there...|
The Buddhist Monks are also amazing when they play, feed or interact with the Tigers. I am standing beside a Monk here bottle feeding a really enormous Tiger who was loving it. It's hard to tell from the picture because the Tiger is sitting beside a tree, but this was a very large cat. Incredible hard their muscles are when you touch them. This other Monk was playing on the ground with this other one like you might do with a house cat. Just waaaayyy bigger.
I only saw one Tiger in an enclosure like the old style traditional zoo exhibits and I don't think he liked it much and quite frankly neither did I. Hard enough seeing such powerful predators being kept at all, but this one example bothered me a lot. I understand he/she was only in there temporarily and briefly, but I was still pretty uncomfortable seeing it. While many or most Tigers were kept sequestered (and I could see why after a little rhubarb here and there), their enclosures were much larger and designed for more privacy and comfortable habitat I thought.
Anyway, it was a wonderful experience being able to see and touch Tigers like this and thankful I had the opportunity. The contrast between spending time around Elephants a week or two ago with Tigers yesterday is pretty profound as you might expect. For me, it was mostly in the feeling I got looking into their eyes as well as that indefinable energy you get in close proximity. Couldn't be more different and both are powerful in their unique ways. Next stop - a visit to the real Bridge on the River Kwai and some pretty spectacular waterfalls...