I couldn’t decide which one I wanted–the big one or the smallest one. I really didn’t want the big tiger because I had taken a picture with one in China. So, I went with the smallest–baby cub–instead. I couldn’t resist their innocence and all that cuteness they were giving me. Who knew that the cuteness of a cub would come with a big price? And I’m not talking bahts.
The cubs were so playful and active that they couldn’t sit still not even for 30 seconds for a good photo. When my cub became restless, I firmly caressed my hand on his lower back and attempted to hold his tail for a picture.
At first, I was nervous as hell. I can’t lie about that. Despite their cuteness and innocence, they were still wild animals and one wrong move could have been deadly.
So I was careful to listen to the trainer’s instructions. When the trainer said step back, I did it. Whenever he said be still, I was a statue. Whatever he suggested, you damn right I was obedient. I knew shit could get real in a matter of seconds.
For instance, one of the two teenager cubs in the other section was extremely rebellious. As I was trying to take my mini photoshoot, he kept turning around or getting up to go play with the other tiger.
It was clear that the trainer was getting frustrated. “No!” he shouted and smacked the cub’s skin with a slim stick. I didn’t like that, at all. The cub ducked his head to the risen stick to guard himself from the beaten. That kind of made me upset and I was tempted to turn away from it all.
Then, something crazy happened that frightened the hell out of me and dismissed the idea in a flash. The teenager cub that stood as tall as me wanted to play…with ME. And that wasn’t good.
The cub locked eyes with me and slowly moved backwards, preparing himself to prance on me. The trainer picked up on the cub’s plan. The trainer kneeled down, pressed his finger on his lips to signal silence and quickly waved me away. I was VERY afraid as I tip-toed backwards. The cub watched my movement and luckily lost interest. He just laid down. “Whew! Thank God.” I whispered.
Finally, I was able to get a few pictures with the teenager cub. Even though the cubs made me work for every baht spent to get a decent photo, I was glad I decided to take photos with them. My cub pictures weren’t fierce; they were adorable! And that’s what I wanted! Besides, cubs were far more entertaining than my experience with an adult tiger anyway!