Connect with us


Phuket tiger’s protective nature blamed for attack

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Tiger Kingdom staff blamed the protective nature of a tiger for the attack on an Australian tourist in Phuket on Wednesday.

“We believe the tiger was trying to protect our staffer, so it bit Mr Goudie. Notice that it attacked him instead of the staffer, who was standing closer to the tiger’s head,” Tanawin Boonpang, Phuket’s Tiger Kingdom supervisor, told the Phuket Gazette in an exclusive interview today.

Paul Goudie, 49, was mauled by the tiger after he entered its cage to have his photograph taken with the animal (story here).

“We sat with two tigers, not a problem, as we moved around we sat with another tiger. My brother-in-law was taking a few pictures. And just as we proceeded to leave, I stood up, and the tiger turned and just decided to have a go. And just took a nice chunk out of one leg, and had a go at the other leg, had a go at the stomach,” Mr Goudie said from his Phuket International Hospital bed after receiving stitches for the bite wounds.

Tiger Kingdom has covered all of Mr Goudie’s medical expenses.

“The staff and everything was just fantastic, they were there straight away trying to get the tiger off me. It was really good,” he said.

Mr Goudie came to the facility with family members, choosing a package that allowed them to be photographed with three different sizes of tigers: very small, small and medium.

“At the third tiger cage – the one with the medium-sized one – two people in his group had already finished taking pictures with the tiger, as had Mr Goudie. However, when he was getting up, it looked like he was about to fall. Our staffer, who is supposed to stand at the head of the tiger, quickly moved to support Mr Goudie – he was afraid Mr Goudie might fall on the tiger,” explained Mr Tanawin, who was near the cage at the time. “It seems like the tiger believed Mr Goudie was attacking the staffer.”

Staff quickly broke Mr Goudie free from the tiger and isolated the big cat to ensure that it didn’t attack again. First aid was provided on-site as staff waited for an ambulance to arrive.

“I certainly bear no grudges to the tiger or to Tiger Kingdom because, as I said, the staff, management, everyone have been absolutely brilliant, and the hospital has been fantastic,” Mr Goudie said.

The tiger is no longer available to the public, and will be retired, confirmed Mr Tanawin.


“It really was an accident; it could have happened at any tiger park in the world. We saved our customer and quickly had the situation under control,” Mr Tanawin said.

Four times a year, Tiger Kingdom staff are trained in handling emergency situations at the facility.

“They know what to do if a tiger escapes or if it attacks a person. Their fast action on Wednesday is a tribute to this,” Mr Tanawin said.

Tiger Kingdom remains open from 9am to 6pm. Though no changes have been made in its safety protocol as of yet, the company is considering changing its policy on allowing customers to enter cages.

“We have done our best to ensure the safety of our customers. We usually have one staff beside each tiger when a customer enters a cage. However, we will consider having more staffers working with a single tiger if a customer is elderly or overweight – this way we can better support them,” Mr Tanawin said.


When customers arrive at Tiger Kingdom, they are given the opportunity to go inside a tiger’s cage to be filmed or photographed.

“If they want to go inside, we have them read and sign an agreement stating that they understand that there is a risk. We also provide insurance. Then, our staff explains what is allowed and not allowed,” Mr Tanawin said.

Warning signs and reminders for proper conduct when dealing with a tiger are posted at the facility’s entrance and on every cage.

“There is a notification when you walk in on how to approach the tiger, no running, and information like that… and to always listen to the instructor,” Mr Goudie recalled.

The signs have pictures and are in English.


Tiger Kingdom breeds and raises its own tigers with the permission of the Bureau of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), Mr Tanawin explained.

The facility has 46 tigers, but only 28 are currently on show for customers.

“The tigers are raised by people from when they are a just a cub. We are sure that they are close to people and not aggressive,” Mr Tanawin said.

“When they are first born, we separate them from their mothers and feed them by hand. Then, when they are two months old, they start to meet more people so they can develop a close bond with us and think of us as friends.”

Tigers more than three years old are retired to a 200-rai property in Chaing Mai, Mr Tanawin explained.

“If they are older than that, they are not as safe for humans to be around. However, we take care of them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Tiger Kindgom is in the process of securing three Royal White Bengal Tigers for the park.

“We expect them to arrive by the end of the year. It takes some time, because we do everything legally under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


Mr Tanawin is encouraged that Mr Goudie is planning to return to the facility.

“I am very happy that he wants to come back and visit again. We are very comfortable with our safety precautions and would like everyone to have the opportunity to see these big cats,” Mr Tanawin said.

“They really are like cats – they play, they sleep. Some people say that we use drugs to control them, but that is simply not true.”

Though he is still waiting for his wounds to heal, Mr Goudie confirmed that he would like to return – but maybe to just observe from outside the cages this time.

“I certainly would like to go back there again at some stage, maybe not for photos, maybe just look through the cage. It might cost me my marriage if I try to go in there a second time,” he said.

— Chutharat Plerin


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Krabi11 hours ago

Krabi tourism businesses not thrilled about Thailand’s reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Thammasat University negotiates multiple deals for vaccines

Bangkok13 hours ago

Bangkok prepares swab hubs, rules easing for city reopening

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Bangkok14 hours ago

Rescue workers cut stuck PVC pipe from man’s genitals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Covid-19 Saturday Update: 10,648 cases, 82 deaths, provincial data

Thailand17 hours ago

Nearly 70,000 foreigners register for vaccines on expatvac site

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok18 hours ago

Worker rescued from outside 26th floor after alleged rope cut

Tourism19 hours ago

38 countries reportedly on short list for no-quarantine reopening

Tourism19 hours ago

Tourism operators: Russians and others need clear entry rules

World20 hours ago

Australian suspected gas leak is actually familiar smell for Thais

Bangkok21 hours ago

Soi Dog Foundation provides food relief for animals in flood-hit central Thailand

Hot News1 day ago

Thai Twitter goes crazy as Russell Crowe tweets Sandbox visit

Crime1 day ago

Transgender woman arrested for selling live sex show on LINE

Crime1 day ago

Thai woman charged with trafficking women to Bahrain for sex

Thailand News Today2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Arrival quarantine waived for 5 countries, The new Thailand pass | Oct. 15

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11