Sriracha Tiger Zoo – Don’t Go
I’m no fan of zoos in the first place, so I am a bit biased from the beginning. If there is one sentiment I think all organism share it is the abhorrence towards confinement. That said, some such attractions are more heinous than others, and some much less so. On the list of particularly heinous midway monstrosities is the Sriracha Tiger Circus, I mean zoo. Sriracha Tiger Zoo.
Located conveniently between Bangkok and Pattaya, it is probably one of the most successful tourist traps in Thailand, and possibly the world. It makes the dusty roadside weirdness of the American mid-west look a lot more like dusty roadside weirdness and quite charming by comparison to this affront to all empathetic inclinations a human being could harbor.
Claiming to have some 400 odd tigers in the zoo sort of begs the question, where are they all kept? The tigers you can see are kept in small prison like concrete boxes without any real appointments or even a bit of vegetations to make them seem at all like a home for tiger. And they are cramped and dirty to boot. If this is what they are willing to show the public, one has to wonder what things look like back stage, especially with such a prodigious population to maintain.
One of the “cute” attractions on permanent display is a cross species feeding frenzy with tiger cubs suckling a sow’s teat and piglets scrambling for a spot at a tigresses belly. Innocent enough on the surface, but a practice with a dark history. It is actually a common practice for “tiger farms” in China to use pigs to suckle tiger cubs when the female tigers are over-bread and can not produce enough milk for all their cubs. This keeps the population up and some even claim makes the cubs grow faster and stronger, though I can’t imagine a single reputable institution that would even publish the sort of scientific research that would back up such a claim.
What is a “tiger farm” and why did Sriracha Tiger Zoo send 100 tigers to China? Tigers are used in traditional Chinese medicine (incidentally not the branch of TCM I am a big fan of). The male genitalia are an aphrodisiac, the ground bones relieve rheumatism, liver fat is another aphrodisiac, and so on. These “medicines” are extraordinarily expensive and the people who want them are always happy to pay whatever price.
In short, it looks an awful lot like this place, the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, is a front for tiger farming operation geared towards consumption and not, as they claim, to “populate zoos”. You can think of something better than this to do with your time and money, and if you can’t, we’re happy to help!!
- Tiger Temple – Don’t Go (bangkokbeyond.com)