When I first came to Thailand I started looking through all of my friends pictures on facebook to see who had been here and what kind of touristy things they did. One really common thing I saw that nearly everyone had been to was the Tiger Temple. They all had amazing pictures with these cute cats, laying on their backs, petting them and one even feeding a cub. At first I thought that this was something that I HAD to do. How amazing would it be to have picture with such a beautiful creature!
However when taking a closer look at the pictures, everything looks VERY unnatural. I decided after looking at more and more pictures of my friends and different advertising for this tourist attraction that something strange had to be going on for the tigers to be so calm and letting people touch them. My first guess was that they drugged the tigers because they look so docile and lifeless. I started to tell a few people my thoughts and no one really had information on it. I did a simple search in google and this is what I found.....
Care for the Wild International (CWI) has released a report about the tiger temple listing MANY significant welfare issues, false claims of conservation, illegal trading and human safety concerns.
The tigers are housed in a small area made of only iron and metal, with nothing natural around them for about 20-21 hours a day. Then when they are let out, they are kept on a very short leash to take photos with hundreds of tourists. There are reports of the staff harassing and beating the tigers along with using water bottles to spray tiger urine in their face to make them more cooperative. The CWI also has proof with signed papers from the abbot who runs the tiger temple, proving that they illegally traded and sold tigers with neighboring country Laos. They are traded or sold to a tiger farm where they are most likely killed for the selling of their skins, bones and other parts.
This web site has MUCH more information about the mistreatment of the animals.
*I also found two videos on YouTube that show the mistreatment of the animals.
This is so sad and disturbing! I sincerely hope that people become more educated on what goes on at the tiger temple and avoid going!