Sriracha Tiger Zoo- THAILAND

Sitting next to this magnificent creature was a once in a lifetime type of experience. Years of seeiimageng her at the zoo and saying “I wish I could cuddle her,” all came true today. For some reason though, I didn’t feel exhilarated after this photo. Instead, I felt a bit of sadness. I tried to shake it off at first, as I can be way over sensitive when it comes to animals- but as the day wore on I realized that I was right to be a bit sad and that others in my group mirrored my sentiments.

There’s a reason we don’t climb into their cages at the zoo, like I did today- and that’s because they’re friggen Tigers- not Siamese cats. Once you climb into a cage and force it to pose for a photo, it becomes less of a tiger somehow. I can think of a lot of words to describe the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand, but none of them are the words you think of when you hear “Tiger.” There was no regal, ferocious, powerful… There was more like dull and depressing. Even the crocodiles looked defeated- being forced to perform in the “show” while some idiot put their head in its mouth. A little part of me wished they’d bite down.

The Tigers wandered around their cement enclosures, their fur seemed the wrong color orange, their eyes didn’t have that look that said ” don’t mess with me,” they looked kind of dirty. All I could think about today was the loss of potential. It was so obvious to me that when we cage something in, be it an animal, a human, a dream- we are messing with a system far greater than we are, assuming a power we don’t have a right to. You can literally feel the disappointment. I thought about all the ways people stifle their own potential and it’s no wonder we don’t see a problem with doing it to other animals. The whole thing felt like a talented singer who gave up their dream for a desk job. I wanted to tell the Tigers, ” you’re better than this!”

Sometimes they would roar… And I would know that they felt it too… Something inside them saying, “I don’t think this is right.” The feeling we all get when we compromise who we are and settle for less than we deserve. I wanted to see them all bust out of their enclosures and make a run for the jungle like in the end of a Disney movie- but they didn’t. They would roar and then lay back down, defeated by a flawed system.

There was a baby elephant and she still had the heart that had been beaten out of the older animals. Her one leg was chained to a pole but she didn’t just stand there- she kept walking back and forth and pulling on that one leg, hoping she could break it free. I went over to calm her and let her know it would be OK – and just that I understood the restlessness. That at times in my life I felt how she felt… She reached her trunk out for me, and my heart broke.

Maybe I am over sensitive and trust me I know there are way more atrocities being done to animals all over the world, don’t even get me started… But there was something wrong today. Fundamentally wrong with the fact that those animals were bred to live like that- for our entertainment. Maybe I can’t singlehandedly get the zoo closed down but I also can’t sit idly by. After seeing what I saw today, I’ve vowed not to let the system break me or silence me. I hope I can make some type of difference for them, even if it’s just to make a few people aware- encourage them to skip that site not their trip and spend their money elsewhere…One thing is certain, I learned some priceless lessons from them today. Next time someone asks me to jump through a flaming hoop for their entertainment I’ll tell them where they can shove it, politely of course. I’m not a cat goddammit – I’m a tiger.
****I don’t have photos of the enclosures, as I didn’t think to write this blog until several hours after I’d left. I’d love to hear your comments and feedback if you have visited the zoo.

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8 thoughts on “Sriracha Tiger Zoo- THAILAND

  1. You know what? I couldn’t agree with you more. Personally I’ve never been to Thailand, but I have been to different zoos in my life. And every time my family wants to go to a zoo I protest, until I get my way. I can’t stand being in a zoo, because I can see how unhappy the animals are. It breaks my heart to see this. I wish I could just set them all free. Unlock the cages and break the chains and let them live the life, they were supposed to. It is awful that they are there because of humans, who need entertainment.

    Whatever you might plan to do to get the zoo closed down, I’m all for it. I mean animals shouldn’t be cage just because they are animals. They have souls too like us humans. And we definitely don’t like being caged. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way, and that you wrote this post. People might feel the same, but they don’t express their feelings.

    Huge props to you

  2. Hi Dana,
    I agree with you that animals should not be kept in captivity and be allowed to roam free. But in Thailand it is very different, certain things are not as strictly controlled. If some of these animals such as, tigers, crocodiles, and elephants are allowed to roam freely out in the wild, they might be hunted down, killed, and used for other purposes. To the point of even extinction. I do know that the conditions and living area in some of the zoos are of poor quality. And that can effect the mental and physical health of animals. I think this is where we should focus on. Raise awareness, help raise fundings for these animals, or even find a way to establish a program that will help preserve and watch animals out in the wild so they can live freely in their natural habitat without harm.

  3. Hey Dana, I haven’t visited the zoo, but I am deeply touched by your blog and share your feelings for these enclosed beasts. They weren’t made for this. It is utterly selfish of us humans to cage them up just so we could entertain ourselves every once in a while.
    I also love your dancing and think you are really blessed for having Matt. You two rock! ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ‘Œ
    And thanks your blog I’m starting to see what a wonderful person you are! ๐Ÿ’œ keep on living your dreams and inspiring us all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Hey Dana, I havenโ€™t visited the zoo, but I am deeply touched by your blog and share your feelings for these enclosed beasts. They werenโ€™t made for this. It is utterly selfish of us humans to cage them up just so we could entertain ourselves every once in a while.
    I also love your dancing and think you are really blessed for having Matt. You two rock! ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ‘Œ
    And thanks your blog Iโ€™m starting to see what a wonderful person you are! ๐Ÿ’œ keep on living your dreams and inspiring us all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Hi Dana,
    I have, in fact, been to the zoo and I cried all the way back to my hotel. It was depressing and disgusting how these magnificent a animals were treated. I emailed Born Free organization, and apparently, lots of people had contacted them about that zoo. But Thailand’s laws couldn’t enable them to take any action. I’ll have a look into that again- I really want to help them!

  6. You realize many zoos exist to save the lives of endangered or disabled animals, right? Most animals that live in captivity are rescues: orphaned as babies and raised by humans, horribly wounded by poachers and unable to hunt, raised as a pet with no knowledge of how to survive in the wild.

    If your local zoo is keeping them in cement enclosures, call for change, don’t get it shut down. Or else, where will these animals go? They can’t be released into the wild, or else they’ll die within a week. A sanctuary isn’t much better in the eyes of folks like you, and reserves still have the issue of the animal not knowing how to survive alone. If nothing else, they’ll just be moved to another zoo, or be put down, and you’ll have solved nothing.

    Clearly that zoo has terrible management, and/or needs better funding to provide better enclosures. Start there. Demand your zoo give their animals bigger enclosures, with natural ground. The enclosure should be big enough for the animal to be able to run from one side to the other.

    • This isnโ€™t my local zoo. This is a tourist trap in Thailand thatโ€™s breeding tigers into captivity and keeping them drugged for tourist photos. Thanks for your irrelevant input though.

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