Tiger Kingdom in Phuket has re-opened to the public following the mauling of an Australian man inside one of its enclosures last week. The park had closed for two days after Paul Goudie, 49, from Melbourne, was left needing surgery and dozens of stiches to his stomach and legs after entering the cage of a large male tiger for photographs.
Despite the life-threatening nature of the attack and major concerns about the welfare of the animals, tiger tourism looks set to continue on the holiday island. Tiger Kingdom told Telegraph Travel today that all facilities were fully open and that it would cost 900 THB (£17) to pose with a small tiger and 1000 THB (£19.25) to enter the cage one of the larger animals. Visitors would be accompanied by a handler and restricted to a maximum of ten minutes. It appears that no new procedures have been put in place since Mr Goudie was injured.
In a video interview with local newspaper, The Phuket News, Mr. Goudie apportioned no blame to the tiger and said he hoped the cat’s life would be spared. A spokesperson for Tiger Kingdom,
Tanawin Boonpang, reportedly claimed that the attack was a result of the big cat’s overprotective nature. He suggested that the tiger was trying to defend a staffer whom Mr Goudie had reached out to when trying to stand up.
Animal welfare groups, however, have condemned Tiger Kingdom, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) describing captivity as a “living hell” for the cats.
“Tiger Kingdom – which has long been the subject of intense scrutiny for its treatment of the animals imprisoned within its walls – gives people the warped idea that these animals are little more than cuddly kitties who can be used and abused for our entertainment.