Sri Racha Tiger Zoo in Thailand


When the snubnose wants to see tigers, well, we have to see tigers :). During our trip to Thailand, we visited the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, which is about a half-hour’s drive from Pattaya.

I don’t know what I was expecting to see but it was definitely not this. This is a haven for children. Not just tigers, the zoo houses crocodiles, huge pigs (I have never seen pigs this big), and various other animals.

Apart from simply viewing the wildlife, they also host various shows and events. The most popular show is the tiger show, where a bunch of tigers do a variety of tricks

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OK, so the snubnose enjoyed the tiger show. But after about 10-15 mins, I started feeling restless and uncomfortable. It was no fun seeing wild animals reduced to performing tricks – the atmosphere was very circus-like. At one point, a tiger refused to perform, and the trainer raised his whip. It was awful to see the tiger cringing and then rising up on his hind legs and walking around.

I felt even more uncomfortable when I saw a bunch of tigers (almost 15) in an enclosure yawning away.

Bored Tigers Yawning Away

Bored Tigers Yawning Away

Tigers are essentially solitary animals and very territorial. It just did not seem natural behavior when so many tigers are lumped together in a rather small enclosure. Also, the tigers seemed extremely passive. In fact, they are so passive, they pose for photo-ops.

K Posing with the Tiger

K Posing with the Tiger

We asked how come the tigers were so docile, and were pretty astounded with the response. Apparently, the zoo is conducting experiments where tiger cubs feed on sow’s milk.

A giant sow feeding a tiger cub

A giant sow feeding a tiger cub

They are also being reared side-by-side with pigs and supposedly this makes them more docile. Hmm, I don’t know, I understand that being reared with a pig could make tigers docile, but my point is why? Why do this? Part of the tiger’s beauty is it’s fiercely individualistic and ferocious nature. We are all fascinated by danger. What’s fun about changing the tiger’s behavior to mirror a pig’s? And if it all boils down to nurture, how come the piglets raised with the tigers don’t become ferocious?

And how does this explain the equally tame crocodiles?

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  • I just got back from Thailand a few weeks back and am still in shock after seeing what I saw at Sriracha. I have never felt so sorry for an animal in my life. We saw thirty one tigers crammed into a concrete passage with absolutely no room to move. One large male couldn’t take it any more and started pacing the length of the passage despite the others lying there. This obviously agitated some of the other tigers and pretty soon, there was a fight inside the cage. It was such a pathetic sight! Amidst all the roaring and snarling, we noticed that all the tigers had been de-clawed and de-fanged! I mean, can you break an animal’s spirit any more, really?

    Thanks for posting. I normally write fun stuff, but I think its time I also made my thoughts on the Sriracha Zoo public.

    • @Dhruv: Do post back a link when you write your post. I am now regretting that I was not strong/vociferous enough about my feelings. Like you, my blog is fairly light-hearted and I hesitate to criticize, but sometimes we all need to 🙂

  • Oh, poor Tigers. 🙁

  • The tigers in your pictures are certainly beautiful but I also couldn’t help cringing when I read about them being whipped to perform. Can this already be considered as cruelty to animals?

    I guess they are keeping the tigers passive so they don’t scare visitors away.

  • Wow, what an experience! I don’t think I’d have the nerve to sit next to that tiger like that!

    • @bermudaonion: Neither would I, which is why you don’t see me in the photo 🙂

  • Hi Nish, beautiful photographs but I couldn’t see K posing with the tiger and the sow feeding the tiger cub. Anyway, the pics are great but I hate to see these big cats perform for the public. What are the animal activists doing? Aren’t they protesting?

    • @Prema: You should be able to see the pictures now

  • priyaiyer

    the pics are lovely.. but the story is sad. 🙁
    poor tigers.
    we missed this zoo on our thailand visit..

  • 🙁 Poor tigers. I feel bad enough for the tiger mascot at my university, and he has an absolutely magnificent and enormous cage all to himself. Tigers are gorgeous and I’d love to see one that close, but you’re right, they’re meant to be scary! (and free)

  • R-A-J

    And in other news…. 🙂

    Hey Nishita,

    Pls promote/vote for my blog at this url:

    btw, Thailand roxx…me usually hit Pattaya beach…lovely read!!

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