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Thew Tiger Temple - Is It A Travesty?


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Me mate, a Khun Thai mentioned that he heard on the news, last week, that Thais where complaining that they are being changed 300 baht :D same as us lot :o to visit "The Tiger Temple" in Kan. My Thai Kids also paid that last year, no complaints for me, as it was my money. :D

Answer was "We have to Feed them". :D

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Kan Win :D

P.S. As the Tiger in the photo says...........................................................

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it has been officially closed....it was not even good enought for the incredibly slack Thai laws

Well, you could look at it like that, or you could look at it in other ways such as certain people wanting the tigers to be moved to Sri Racha.

Is that what you want...??

I'm assuming you are referring to the 'confiscation' or the land disputes some time ago which has not actually happened. The tiger temple has not been officially closed and it's misleading to suggest so. In fact it's had support from official sources since the disputes.

it was officially closed and they are "still waiting" for somewhere to put the Tigers - TIT!!!

Even the Thai authorities would not be so daft as to put the animals in the care of Sri Racha Zoo - which is really a euphemism for abbatoir

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I visited the tiger temple in February 2008, and the account by Seville is absolutely consistent with my own observations.

Further, there seemed to be an unwillingness and inability to provide proper answers to important questions concerning the welfare of the tigers (it is afterall supposed to be a sanctuary!). In my own experience, the monk handling the tiger cubs completely ignored reasonable queries, and the behaviour and responses of all handlers (including this particular monk) seemed to be devoid of a level of expertise required to appropriately CARE for the tigers, certainly with THEIR best interest as the primary purpose of (what cannot in any way be called) 'a sanctuary'.

As one example, I witnessed young cubs (without their mother) being literally closely chased at times by thirty or more camera-happy tourists whilst they attempted to run and explore, which can only be described as invasive to the tiger cubs. Even the handler attempted to prevent this relentless hot pursuit, although the tourist numbers really were against him. It suggests an environment that is foolishly out of control and which requires serious outside expert intervention without delay.

The tiger temple is questionable in the extreme. It represents nothing more than abuse and tragedy, so consistent with other accounts of animal exploitation in Thailand and other parts of South East Asia. Just another opportunity to attract the tourist dollar using the guise of benevolence.

First off I have not been to the temple, but have volunteered at two wildlife rescue centers in Thailand and two in the U.S. all four are strongly against exploiting wildlife. What I am posting below was sent to me from WWFT and is what they send to people inquiring about volunteering there, especially when the Tiger Temple is mentioned.

My understanding is that there are strong efforts being made to take the animals away from the abbot and find more humane homes for them.

Something about the infamous tiger temple:

After hearing many complaints about the place from tourists and volunteers (we have even had volunteers come here after they left the tiger temple sick after a few days of volunteering), we visited the tiger temple with representative of international animal welfare / wildlife conservation organisations earlier this year. Short summary:

There are animals locked up in tiny, un-enriched enclosures.

Tigers are showing signs of malnourishment, e.g. sight defects. They have been fed on dogfood and chicken - an incomplete diet for felines.

Tigers are reported to be beaten and abused into submission (negative-reinforcement techniques), in order that they can be handled and paraded in front of the abbott and the tourists.

The monks / handlers do not have any training or equipment for tranquilising animals and therefore have no form of emergency control if a tiger goes bezerk. They rely heavily on negative reinforcement to keep the tigers docile, but there is always the risk of an animal getting out of control.

Tigers are chained up outside for several hours without shade or drinking water so that tourists can take photos of themselves with the tigers.

The initial 4 tigers have rumoured to have actually been bought by the abbott from an illegal wildlife trader, mixed species have been interbred and there are now at least 17 tigers from a limited gene-pool. The conservation value of this is more than questionable.

The tigers have been officially confiscated by the government, as the abbott has no legal documentation or permit to keep them. However, as the government have no-where else to take care of the animals, they remain under the "care" of the Tiger Temple.

The abbott himself is not open to constructive criticism of his operation or support from organisations wishing to improve the welfare of the animals and safety of the staff/volunteers/tourists.

Approximately 300 tourists pass through each day, each paying a mere $10 entrance fee plus extra fees for "special" photos with the tigers - i.e. approx. $20000 per week is cashed in, excluding further donations, and there is little sign that this is being spent on the welfare of the animals.

Apologies if this sounds harsh, but we like to be hard and to the point. If your aim is to volunteer for an organisation that has a high regard for the welfare of the animals, then we do not recommend the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. If your aim is however to touch/pet wild animals, take your photo with them and generally exploit them for your own personal enjoyment and experience, then please do not consider applying to us as this behaviour is against our principles. For your information, we also have a campaign against wildlife exploitation in tourism, some information is on our website here: http://www.wfft.org/campaigns.htm

Edited by rubierred
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Thought the Tiger Temple would be interesting to visit. A few photos taken last week. You kind of hope that it isnt going to be as touristy and run down as you think it will be and also that the huge amount of money it rakes in is being spent wisely . . but . . .

The tiget canyon - inhumane conditions - for the tourists. No umbrellas for the tigers but msot were in the shade. Tigers do get slapped on the head when they stir, but cant imagine this is that inhumane - our dog gets a slap on the nose if he's disobedient too. According to the handlers my g/f talked to they do sometimes bite - hence the liability waiver you have to sign before going in.

New compounds are being built - the plan says each tiger witll have a rai of land to roam in. But what's bieng built, whilst much better then the current cages, isnt exactly of the Singapore or Sam Diego Zoo quality and whilst is probably covers a rai - most of this is concrete.

Tiger food - do tigers naturally eat BBQ chicken? I guess it it's good enough for the monks it's good enough for tigers. Thats the only food we could see in the cages. I assuemd that the goats, deer, cattle etc were being bred as tiger food.

A stated aim of the temple is to eventually release tigers back into the wild. Introducing cubs to human contact when they are a couple of months old seems a strange way of doing this. Also saw the cubs being chased around by tour groups of people all wanting to try to pick it up and pet it. The girl looking after it did her best to stop them, but one Thai girl against a bus load of 'Tiger Temple souvenir t-shirt' clad Israelis isn't a fair contest.

Tigers habitat

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The photo rules

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Tiger Canyon - tourists forced to stand in the hot sun waiting to have photos taken

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Fortuantely, the temple has it's own brand of drinking water to cool you down. ( But it's free)

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More photos ops- three tiger cubs and a real life monk

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The new enclosures being built

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Black bear in it's cage and the cages where tigers are kept. ( But if human live in 30sqm condos, why shouldnt tigers like living in small concrete boxes too?

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THe aims are totally unachieved (unachievable?) and no Tigers don'rt eat BBQ'd cchicken...if it's good enough for one species (pseudo-monk) it doesn't mean it's OK for another.

THe "better" habitation has been flaunted for years...still nothing happens.

this all comes back to the establishments motivations and intentions......releasing into the wild????? - joke!

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  • 1 month later...

THere seems to be some development on the tiger front....

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thre...sageID=14132938

i quote...

"i have thoroughly researched the tiger temple and this is the highlights of the facts.

* the original cubs were acquired through the tiger trade

* the additional new cubs are acquired through the tiger trade

* there is no veterinary care for these tigers of any benefit, and the tigers suffer endlessly

* the diet is inadequate to the point the tigers bones are aged beyond there years

* the mortality rate is 8 - 9 years old (captive tigers can live to 26+ when cared for correctly)

* the beatings the tigers have recieved have malprinted them for life

* the wildlife trade exists in the tiger temple

Numerous other points.

Dont think that because they are buddhists, that they are immune to corruption. They are.

They may be attempting to build larger enclosures, but the temple is built on a foundation of lies and corruption and it will fall."

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This about the Sri Racha Tiger zoo too....

"Sri Racha is on the list... Sri Racha is a well known suspected tiger trading place. The question begs to be asked, if the zoo holds 180 tigers yet numerous cubs are born each year at the zoo, then where do the additional tigers disappear to. Let me guess............

I want to let everyone know how shocking the plight of the tigers has become, in this case the critically endangered Indochinese tigers, is. Not only are they being hunted to extinction in the wild, they are also subjected to the wildlife trade in places we thought they were safe. This is unacceptable.

A point I wish to clearly make is this is nothing to do with religion, this is soley to do with the wildlife trade and abuse of a critically endangered species. Anyone who tries to say that it is a religious thing is using a last ditch effort to discredit anyone who tries to expose the truth. Additionally, the accusation of "being a westerner" and "you dont understand the culture" is a crock! The Thai government signed the CITES(Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species, Wild Flora and Fauna) agreement in 1983, The Thai Wildlife Conservation Act protects tigers and other creatures, and states it is illegal to trade endangered species.

So answering the suspicous elements on this post, although I am a so-called "westerner" (well an aussie) and although I havent been raised in the Thai culture, am I totally supportive of Thai Law in regard to the trade of endangered species, especially the great cats, big cats, and small cats, is my speciality.

The time for covering up issues in the environment and our earths wildlife are over. We have learnt the irreversable changes that we humans can cause and we ARE alot more aware.

Thanks to the people who are voicing their support, it is absolutely appreciated by me, but more importantly the incredible tigers and other animals which have suffered, they are finally getting a voice too.

Please pass this knowledge onto anyone for support of this. I'll keep the site updated with the progress. Genuine people please write to me at [email protected] where I am starting a partition for people to put there name to for verbal only support.

Cheers"

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I volunteered at the temple. I DID see tigers being hit with sticks, rocks and fists. I left because of the abuse that was increasing daily. People who have only visited for a couple of hours don't see the real Tiger Temple. Most people who visit the temple are blinded to the abuse in the canyon by the opportunity to have close and personal photos with tigers. You maight be happy and comfortable at the temple, but the tigers are not.

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  • 1 year later...

I visited that Kanchanaburi tiger zoo tourist trap ONCE! I advised every other person I met in Kanchanaburi to not even consider going. The tiger cages were small and dark and not particularly clean. Tourists were conned into having their photos taken by the monk holding the camera. All other tourists were a 100 meters away... and too far for good photos. I wouldn't go back if someone paid me.

If you want to see tigers then go to the Bangkok zoo. Or, there used to be a good place half way between Bangkok and Pattaya that also had crocodiles and an elephant show besides the tigers. The tigers get treated much better there.

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If only a small part of what is alleged is true, then that's another reason not to visit for me.

The first reason is that these are wild animals, and one bite could kill me. I value my life more than that, but if others choose such a degree of foolishness, that's their business.

I've motorcycled past it a few times and thought about but visiting but no more.

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Apart from an American guy who must believe hhe is a guard at Guantanamo and keep shouting his advertising the tiger temple is OK, but still very expensive for what it is (600thb), especially when you know that doing anything else but taking a photo with the tigers must be paid 1000 thb more !

Just wonder where is going the money...

Not all used to feed the tigers for sure ! Maybe this US guy has some special reasons to shout-advertise so much for more activities...

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  • 8 years later...

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