Imagine getting up close and personal with a fully grown tiger.
Since watching Disneys famous film- Aladin, during which The Eastern Princess Jasmine has a beautiful tame tiger friend; who lives with her and loves her- I have imagined what it would be like to cuddle a tiger.
Thailand is known for their animal encounters, snake charmers and elephant handlers but tiger keepers? At first I was extremely reluctant to see the tigers, as I thought they must be drugged. I mean, how else do you get a natural predator to sit quietly and purr on the lap of a tourist? But after some research and persuasion we decided to go and see how the tigers were doing.
Upon arrival we were given the choice of which enclosure, and thus which tiger we wished to visit. Between the very large, and the smallish cubs. We went for the latter!
As we went into the cage we were asked to only pet the tigers firmly, as they do not like to be touched gently (which Mikhail found out by a seriously scary ROARRRRR) Once we sat beside the first cub, and started to stroke him he rolled over onto his back so we could rub his tummy. The trainers were attempting to get him back round onto his front for the perfect photo, but for us we just wanted the tiger to behave as naturally as possible (not by eating us obviously)
We were told that the tigers are hand reared from birth, thus explaining their placid playful nature around humans.
Although the tigers seemed playful and the workers were cuddling and playing with them, the whole experience felt extremely unnatural and I felt that these strong animals should be in the wild and not in man made enclosures. Next time I wish to see a tiger, Ill be on a safari in Kenya rather than inside a cage!by