24 July 2008

Tiger Temple in Thailand

I used to see the pictures of these tigers in "Tiger Temple" with monks and tourists in the pictures. I thought they were doing a good thing protecting the tigers. But someone from an animal organization told me that they use a tranquilizer to make the tigers tamed and sleepy so tourists can take photos with them. And also the news below saying that the tigers are being abused and illegally smuggled.

I used to want to visit the temple but I am glad I didn't.

How can monks who claim to be compassinate beings and follow Buddha's compassionate teachings do this?


UK wildlife group slams Tiger Temple

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/270608_News/27Jun2008_news14.php

A British conservation group has called on state wildlife agencies to look into alleged animal abuse and illegal tiger trafficking at a famous temple in Kanchanaburi province. A report by the group Care for the Wild International (CWI) claims the animals at the renowned ''Tiger Temple'' are kept in confined spaces and poorly cared for.

The report also raised concerns over the safety of tourists, as they are allowed close contact with the animals.

Since the worldwide broadcast of a documentary on the Animal Planet channel around 900 foreign tourists visit the temple on busy days, said the CWI, which made a two-year investigation into alleged wildlife abuse and smuggling.

The group does not give the full name of the temple and simply calls it the ''Tiger Temple'', as it is popularly known.

CWI chief executive Barbara Maas said the temple's popularity was based on claims its tigers were rescued from poachers and move freely and peacefully among monks who are actively engaged in conservation activities.

''This utopian facade hides a sinister reality of unbridled violence and illegal trafficking of tigers between Thailand and Laos,'' she said.

CWI claimed it has evidence that rather than rescuing orphaned tiger cubs the temple operates as an illegal breeding facility and is involved in the clandestine exchange of tigers with the owner of a tiger farm in Laos.

CWI Southeast Asia director Guna Subramaniam said the major attraction of the temple is that tourists can interact closely with live tigers.

She said the group had met with the temple's abbot to discuss the problems but he was reluctant to negotiate and showed no interest in reform.

The group called on the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department to confiscate the tigers and transfer them to a sanctuary.

The acting deputy director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Kamolwat Visetsiri, said the agency seized seven tigers and almost 300 other animals seven years ago but could not find any guilty party. He said he would inspect the temple after acknowledging the CWI's complaint

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