Daily Archives: September 21, 2007

Visit To Sriracha Tiger Zoo

On the way to Pattaya for a meeting, I visited Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi. In Chinese it is called “Long Hu Yuan”, literally means ” Dragon and Tiger Zoo”. Why is crocodile classified as dragon? Well, dinosaurs belong to the “dragon” species and crocodile belongs to dinosaur family, that’s how the Chinese name of the zoo originated. The zoo is located on a 100-acre piece of land, consisting of more than 200 Bengal tigers, 100,000 crocodiles and various kinds of animals.

As my friend knows the owner of the zoo, once we arrived, we were welcomed and escorted by the manager to the restaurant for lunch. It was raining and we were led to a room with a glass window wall, so that we could see the tigers down below. We were served with crocodile delicacies including crocodile reproductive organ’s soup, dragon (crocodile) palm stick, fried crocodile meat with bun, fried crocodile tongue etc. I am not that adventurous with non-traditional livestock meat, so I was a little uneasy to try…though I did finally. Crocodile meat is a white meat, akin to fish in both appearance and texture. It has a delicate flavor, tastes more like chicken.

Dragon palm stick/Fried coconut meat with bun

Fried crocodile tongue, one whole crocodile for one small plate/Exciting crocodile show

According to the manager, the whole crocodile has value, from head to tail and from the outer skin to the internal organs. The crocodile meat is low in fat and high in protein. It is also a traditional remedy for asthma and can increase kidney and liver efficiency. During the bird flu tragedy a few years ago, 147 tigers were killed as they were fed with chickens. However, not a single crocodile was affected, meaning it has a very very strong immune system. Believe it or not, the manager looked at least 15 years younger than his real age and he attributed his youth looking to the eating of crocodile meat.

We had a quick tour of the zoo after lunch. It was a fruitful learning experience for me. During the visit, I didn’t notice a zoo worker standing besides me holding a baby crocodile in his arms. While I turned back and saw him, I was scared and screamed loud. I am very scared of crocodiles and feel disgusted if I watch them for too long…however, I did enjoy the crocodile show!

Sow feeding tiger cubs/Beautiful big cats