Tiger Encounters

Welcome to our Tiger Encounter Page

Latest Update - Februaury 2002

I have now restructured to put the Tiger Encounters on their own page.


August 2001

Finally added our awesome UK tiger encounter story and pictures, see below.



Sriracha Zoo, Thailand

In October 1998, we went to Thailand on holiday, first we visited busy Bangkok, then we took a plane up to the northern provinces to visit Chaing Mai (here we had another story, which will feature later). Then we flew back to Bangkok to take a coach down to Pattaya, on the way down I saw a sign for Sriracha Tiger Zoo. Excitedly we thought we would have a chance to arrange a visit, once we got to Pattaya.

We had read about this zoo on the flight over, it was a zoo mainly dedicated tigers, the zoo having a large breeding program. Also in the article it stated that you could have an encounter with a tiger cub if you visit the zoo.

When we arrived in Pattaya, we hastily sought out the tour rep to arranged a trip to Sriracha Zoo. The next day we visited the zoo, we were in for a few surprises, both good and bad. Luckily, it was quiet, with not that many people about and when we arrived our guide took the small group of us into a building off from the main route (Tiger Education Centre), in here we saw how the breeding program was run.

Young cubs were being brought up suckling from large pigs, the cubs inter-mingling with young piglets. Amazingly they played and seem to enjoy each others company very much. The tiger cubs thrive on the pig's milk and grow faster than normal, also more cubs could suckle on a pig than they could on their natural mother. Although this is not an ideal situation, it appears to be able to successfully breed tigers - sadly wild tiger numbers are being more depleted each year, even with the great work of wild tiger sanctuaries, such as in India. It would be great if at some point in the future these tigers could be used to populate tiger sanctuaries free from poachers, this would however have many problems in itself.

Just beyond where we saw the breeding program, we were brought to an area where a keeper had a tiger cub being feed by bottle. Here we were could hold, feed and have a picture taken with the young cub. This was an amazing experience, to be in contact with a young tiger cub.

That was our first encounter with a tiger.

After this we were to see the worse face of the zoo, that spoiled the day - they had a circus, we both wished we boycotted it. We both went in thinking we better not kick up a fuss and spoil each others day, we did not realise both of us were feeling like that until we had chance to discuss it afterwards. We both now wish we acted differently, tigers in well kept zoos is not ideal, but it's better than letting the whole species die off. But tigers in a circus as well as most other animals, I find is way past my limit. This event was a 'learning curve' for both my wife and myself. If you ever visit Siracha, please refuse to visit the circus - if enough people do, maybe they would stop it - we can always dream...

Shortly after this event, I saw something else that both surprised and brightened my day. Walking around watching the tigers (in some large and quite good enclosures, compared with UK animal parks), in a secluded part of the zoo, there was an enclosure with several young tigers. In with the tigers, oblivious to being watched was a keeper sitting watching them and playing with one that was awake enough to come over to him.

Here is a link for Sriracha Tiger Zoo Website and one for a site with several good pictures - Tiger Zoo



Tiger Encounter - UK (Paradise Wildlife Park)

After watching a program on TV about someone who went in with a tiger, here in the UK, I remembered the place and tried to find out more about it. Eventually after a bit of searching on the Internet, I found some info on the park.

This place had a license to allow limited visitors to have tiger and lion cub encounters, where they could go in an enclosure with cubs up to 6 months old, interact and learn more about the wonderful creatures from the keepers (close up). They also did another type of encounter where you could feed the adult tigers through the bars of the cage under the supervision of the keepers.

My wife's Birthday was coming up soon, so I could not pass up an opportunity like this, I called to ask if they were still doing the encounters. Luckily they had cubs, so I secretly booked an encounter with a cub and a feeding encounter. It was quite expensive, but well worth it, and most of the money goes to fund saving the tigers in the wild.


As we were driving there, my wife slowly guessed where we were going, she was very excited about it, although we were both in for some surprises.

We got there very early, before the park officially opened, for the cub encounter. It was a bright but bitterly cold January day. We met one of the keepers whom was to supervise the encounter, he told us, to both our surprise, that we were to see two cubs. The first was a bosterous young female of six months. The other, as he explained, was very special, he was ten months old and the only one they had been allowed to go in with older than six months. They had been given a special license because he was very friendly and gentle for his age.

As soon as we went in with Amber, the six month old female, you could see she wanted to play, she sunk her teeth (not at all hard) into my arm an tugged it, then rolled over as a young kitten would, you could see the mischief in her eyes. I wished I had more confidence to play with her, as she obviously wanted to. My wife fed her a milk bottle, which she was very attentive for, and she let Amber playfully tear away at her arm, whilst she chatted to the keeper.

Just before we were to go over to the other cage where Rocky, the ten month old male was, there was a roar and a loud rattling of bars, as Rocky and the two bigger tigers next door were showing off to each other. This did make me a little nervous about going in with him.

But soon as we did go in with him, you felt relaxed in his awesome presence. It's hard to describe what it was like to be with him, he was about 18 stone and although only young, he was BIG! The way I would decribe him, is as a gentle giant, he had no fear of us, no animosity, just curiously accepted our presence in his resting area. His coat felt thick and soft and looked beautiful, in the only place it can look like that - on a tiger! My wife and I felt his large paws, and as shown by the keeper, saw that they were webbed, which we did not know. We both loved stroking him and felt very priviledged to be allowed in his presence.

This was one of the most awesome experience we have both ever had.

Rani & Mum

Then, we then had to walk about the park until after 5pm, when the tigers are fed, on this bitterly cold January day! We kept warm drinking hot chocolate in the cafe and reliving our encounters.

My wife then fed Indy, their famous male tiger who shares an enclosure with the two lions they have. Then she fed tiny Rani and his mum.

Afterwards outside we watched to other two males, that were indoors next to Rocky, being feed in their enclosure. That was to complete my wife's special Birthday.