For some reason, this “Bucket List” has come up on several conversations over the last few days and it reminded me to think about mine and consider how many things I have been able to cross off that list on this journey inward. I have come to know myself in a way I had never imagined possible with a love so deep that nobody can ever take it away from me. This process of travelling the world on by myself as a 51-year-old woman has opened my eyes to many things, to many different kinds of people, to my relationships with other people and most importantly the relationship with myself. I have repeatedly stepped outside of my comfort zone as I have journeyed along over the past seven months and today was no exception! As you might have come to know, I have a DEEP love for animals and the proper care and consideration of each and every one of them. Tigers are one of the animals that I adore and have always been able to do so, at a safe distance. Today I was presented with the opportunity to put my fears aside and step in the cage of one of the largest tiger cats in the world and stand beside this massive animal.
Was I scared? Absolutely! Did I face some fears? Without a doubt! Was it Exhilarating? Extremely.
The Bengal Tiger, Panthera tigris tigris, is considered to the second largest species of tiger. They have a yellow and orange coat, with black or dark brown stripes and a white belly. Bengal tigers primarily hunt larger mammals including deer, wild boar, cattle and goats. They are the most numerous species of tiger in Asia and are found in dense forests and mangrove swamps and jungles throughout India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
They average between 6.8 feet – 11 feet and weight in anywhere from 300lbs to over 600lbs, their average life span is between 18-25 years. They are massive and beautiful!
These beautiful beasts are on the endangered species list.
The Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai is a great combination of tourism with wildlife preservation. The proceeds from tourist visits to the Tiger Kingdom are mainly directed to investments in captive breeding of tigers.
He was kind and considerate letting me touch him and be around him, I kept my eyes on him as he glanced at me a few times.
After our visit I would spend a good long time wandering around the kingdom and just watching them sleep or pace around walking back and forth. My lucky day, there would be two baby white tigers born just a couple of weeks ago. I would stand for a long time watching these two precious little creatures make all sorts of tiny baby tiger noises while the handler tried to clip their nails. It was sadness that filled my heart when I read that these two tiny creatures had been removed from their mother’s, who were housed in the cages not more than 20 meters away because, in one case, the mother simply rejected the baby and in the other because the baby had a slightly flattened chest and his mother rejected him. These two tiny babies were without their mama’s crying, looking for something to snuggle up against, looking for a teet, as I watched I felt the tears sting my eyes and before I knew it they were dripping down my face as I thought of these tiny babies without the comfort of their mothers.
They were beautiful tiny creatures born into a world to be taken from their mother’s at the tender age of 2 weeks old.
Another experience I won’t soon forget! Grateful beyond words!