Think before visiting Tiger Temple in Thailand!

Think before visiting Tiger Temple in Thailand!!

Like most people I would jump at the opportunity to see wild animals, especially in their natural environment. Unfortunately to see tigers in their natural environment was not an option for me and going to a tiger rehabilitation centre sounded like the second best option. It seemed like an exciting opportunity to interact with exotic animals, and why not if they are protecting the animals.

Think before visiting Tiger Temple in Thailand!
Such majestic creatures

I went on a morning excursion to the Tiger Temple in Thailand in 2010, which is quite close to Bangkok. It is a booming enterprise that offers you the chance to pet, feed and take photos with tigers. This opportunity seemed amazing and just too good to be true … and sadly it is. During my visit I suspected everything might not be as advertised, and it was only afterwards as I read up about the Tiger Temple and that I became aware of what was actually going on there.

Before my trip I was told that conservation is a part of the program at Tiger Temple and that they are helping to encourage the re-population of tigers to the region.

As part of our temple tour we got to posewith a majestic tiger. the Temple’s monks encouraged us to touch the tigers as the monks assured us they were docile because they have been hand-reared.

Although they insist that they care for the tigers the truth is quite the opposite. Most of these tigers looked very sleepy and they were all chained up and not able to move around at all. There are rumours that the tigers are drugged, which makes them appear “sleepy” and “content.” The other rumours are that the tigers have been brutally beaten and abused to learn to fear their captors.

Think before visiting Tiger Temple in Thailand!
This chained up tiger definitely looks drugged
Here are some facts about this temple that I came across in an article.

1. Tiger cubs at the temple were taken from their mothers, they were not orphans as the monks told us. These cubs were then handed over to the tourist for bottle feeding and non stop molestation. And yes, I did stroke one of these cubs and had my picture taken with it. Something that I am now quite ashamed of doing.

Think before visiting Tiger Temple in Thailand!
Me with a baby tiger cub

2. Cubs are bottle-fed all day long!! As the temple made most of its money from everything cub related. They had a long morning program with up to four afternoon feedings which must have been hell for the cubs.

3. The Tigers  were obviously not getting any exercise at Tiger Temple. These majestic creatures were either in tiny cages or chained down like prisoners to the ground, so that tourists could take photos with them. These things were not just done at certain times as the monks told us, this was a day long occurrence.

4. Even though these animals were raised by humans from birth, they are still instinctively wild. There will always be an inherent danger as they can be unpredictable animals. Every year a tiger mauled an unsuspecting tourist at the temple.

5. These tigers were on the equivalent of an American diet. It is awful to think that they were fed boiled chicken every day. Many were overweight and had underdeveloped muscles. Tiger Temple claimed they couldn’t give the tigers red meat because it was “too expensive.”

6. And lastly, the money tourists “donated” didn’t go to tiger conservation. Tiger Temple was a very shady Tiger Business. The money tourists gave went first and foremost into building their big Vatican-like Buddhist temple. Just because a place was run by a bunch of “monks” didn’t make it holy or reputable.

The Tiger Temple in Thailand was raided in 2015 by the government as allegations surfaced that the Buddhist monks were illegally breeding their tigers and trafficking them across international borders. Not exactly in the spirit of “conservation.” Tiger Temple was later forced to shut down and to hand over their 147 tigers to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Think before visiting Tiger Temple in Thailand!
I enjoyed walking around the temple grounds and feeding the other animals that were roaming around free!

Did you have the chance to visit Tiger Temple before 2015?

And if so, what are your thoughts on this place?

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22 comments

  1. Oh damn when I read the title I thought you mean the Tiger Temple in Krabi. I did not see any tigers there but only temples and monks…
    I hate to see these animals being abused…

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  2. We considered visiting in this trip, but I have to say I’m glad we didn’t! Such a sad story for these tigers 🐅 such beautiful creatures reduced to shells. Did you enjoy other parts of Thailand at least? 🇹🇭

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  3. i visited the Tiger Kingdom a couple of years back just out of Chiang Mai. I feel guilty because I hadn’t really thought it through. They market themselves as doing tiger ‘conservation’ and they claim their tigers arent drugged. But what Ive learnt and articles like this make me think that sure they must be. The facilities looked pretty decent, they have goals to breed in captivity as their are so few tigers in the wild in Thailand with the hope to repopulate one day. But it’s all a bit dubious, although the conditions seemed ok.

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  4. I read about this in the papers and was absolutely appalled. The scale of it was the most shocking for me…it’s not just the fact that they kept the tigers drugged and chained and took cubs away from their mothers at birth, but the fact that they had in the temple all sorts of tiger ‘parts’, from cubs in formaldehyde to tiger skin which means they were clearly dealing in illegal wildlife trade.

    The amount of money they were making makes me think that the only way they were able to get away with it for so long was by paying off officials to overlook what was happening.

    Liked by 1 person

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