Tigers and Elephants
27th April, 2011
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I'm travelling to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia from 10th Aug-10th Sept and I'm a massive animal lover. While I'm there I'm planning on visiting a tiger 'park' and riding an elephant at some point, as well as any other animal viewing activities.
Although I would prefer to see tigers in the wild, I realise that this is not possible in the areas I am visiting and with my time constraints. I have spent a lot of time in Kenya and I am fully aware that seeing animals in captivity cannot replace the amazing experience and natural behaviours of seeing them in the wild.
I want to visit a tiger zoo (if you can call it that?) but I'm unsure of which one to go to. The first one I found out about was the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, but after reading reviews and seeing photos of tigers with chains around their necks locked to the ground I have been completely put off. I understand this is for safety of the visitors but I think it's just wrong, if the animals are so wild and unpredictable, they should be living in the wild.
Does anyone know of a tiger rescue centre where they look after tigers that have either been rescued with injury from the wild or from circuses or any other bad lives, where their only option is to live in a well maintained park with qualified staff looking after them? (I realise this is a lot to ask, but any recommendations for a slightly nicer area would be good). I also don't want to go somewhere that the tigers are sedated.
I have a similar question about elephants, and I'm guessing the best places will be somewhere within Chiang Mai? I want to go to an area which protects and looks after the elephants and the local environment.
Any advice would be appreciated, even if you just let me know that the places I want don't exist and never will exist within the tourist trade! Thanks.
#1 Posted: 3/5/2011 - 04:54
I would recommend the Tiger Kingdom just north of Chiang Mai in Mae Rim.
In a perfect world they would be living in the wild, but for various reasons that is barely possible in Thailand. So this project is a breeding program to keep their numbers up (and do some business). I go by there often (wife's village is next door) and most people seem to have a positive experience.
Also in Chiang Mai check out the Elephant Nature Foundation.
Their office is in town a block south of the Thaphae Gate, and the Nature Park is an hour north of the city near Mae Taeng (you must book at the office first).
#2 Posted: 3/5/2011 - 05:17
3rd May, 2011
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For the elephant ride, you don't even need to travel far from Bangkok, in the province of Ayuddha (1 hr 30 mins drive from Bangkok), there's an elephant camp of a decent size with daily shows and it's such and amazing city surrounded by so much history that it's a must visit place if you're in Thailand.
If you're in Bangkok, you can also visit Safari World. The park consists of big open parks for many wild life to roam free. I believe you can even feed the tiger cubs here if I'm not mistaken... You can visit the site here: http://www.safariworld.com/
#3 Posted: 4/5/2011 - 00:23
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