A video of a Thai couple that had to frantically scale a bamboo tree in order to escape the massive tiger they bumped into at a Kanchanaburi wildlife sanctuary has gone viral – prompting an online discussion about what to do when one, y’know, accidentally encounters a tiger.
On Tuesday, Wichian Chinnawong, chief of the UNESCO World Heritage Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, confirmed that the tiger was, indeed, a wild one, while relaying a warning to citizens to not run away if you encounter one.
If you’re driving, immediately stop, and don’t make any sudden movements that might scare the tiger, which, in reality, is just as afraid of us as we are of them, he said, clearly not taking into account just how afraid the staff of Coconuts Bangkok is capable of being.
The courageous escape, which saw the couple wait the tiger out in a tree for more than half an hour, became public on Saturday when Supranee Panasoosun posted a 33-minute video to her Facebook page showing the couple, of ethnic Karen origin, clinging onto a bamboo tree while a tiger hangs out below.
Supranee’s relationship to the couple was not immediately clear.
In the first 15 minutes or so of the video, the tiger can be seen pacing back and forth around the base of the tree. At times, the beast lays down and stretches out seemingly without a care in the world.
A woman’s voice can be heard expressing her fear of both the tiger below and the possibility that the bamboo tree might not be able to support both their weight.
Shortly after the tiger disappears from sight, the man climbs down to his motorcycle and has a snack (well, that de-escalated quickly.) At the end of the video, he calls for his wife to climb down, but she refuses.
The incident occurred as the couple was riding their motorcycle home via a trail that cuts through the sanctuary, according to Khaosod.
Since the trail is heavily dense with wildlife, it is closed to the public and is only open to officials and local villagers that absolutely need to use it.
This incident occurred near the campsite where, in February last year, Thai construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta and three other friends — two men and one woman — were arrested for poaching protected species
In Premchai’s campsite, authorities found guns and animal carcasses, including a Kalij pheasant, a red muntjac (aka a barking deer), and the pelt of a black leopard.