June 01, 2013

Buddhist Monks and The "Tiger Temple" of Kanchanaburi - Updated




"Tigers in our world are quickly becoming endangered species. The "Tiger Temple" is in the jungle of Kanchanaburi. The monks there take in injured and orphaned tigers for healing and safety. There is a rumor that the tigers are drugged and therefore allow humans to pet them. But, tourists are only allowed entrance between the hours of 1-3pm, during nap time. 
These cats are getting massaged while they nap. They are chained for their protection as well as for visitors. They flinched at sounds, moved heads, showed teeth, and purred. I don't think that drugged tigers would respond like this. 
 The monks are very friendly and knowledgeable about the fastest cats in the world. Tigers have been revered throughout mythology and ancient folklore. Art forms from all over the world adore the tiger. Welcome to TIger Camp! Enjoy the film..."

From You Tube

When temperatures reaching a stifling 37 degrees, even these well-adapted tigers need to find a way of escaping the heat.

The beautiful big cats are pictured at the controversial Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, where around 100 live alongside Buddhist monks.

Many were brought to the reserve as cubs and have grown up around humans. But even so these pictures show just how remarkably close these fearsome creatures can get to their keepers.

An adult tiger is, at first, sprawled out on the ground sunbathing, but then cuddles up close to one of his fellow residents in the shade.

Elsewhere, a young tiger was spotted happily playing around in a pool of water with a fascinating new toy. 

Along with soaring temperatures, the humidity in Thailand can reach an exhausting 90 per cent in the summer months.

Founded in 1994, the Tiger Temple has attracted criticism from some wildlife groups who claim it is an illegal breeding facility and that the tigers are not sufficiently cared for.  

The first cub arrived in 1999 after her mother was killed by poachers nearby.
She died, but others have since arrived and the tiger population has gradually grown. 

The centre has become a tourist attraction where visitors can pay a fee to have their picture taken alongside the animals.

The organisation insists that it is a legitimate conservation centre, that the animals are well-cared for and that the aim is to release them back into the wild in the future.

By Steve Robson

Picture credits: many thanks to Paul Brown. And more at the link below

From the Daily Mail

H/T: Andy
Utterly stunning creatures! Pictures below via Twitter.





Update: Horrible news! Warning - graphic.


According to The Australian:

Thai police are investigating claims that Buddhist monks were breeding tigers to feed the market for wild-animal parts in China and other countries.
After moving in last week to remove 137 tigers from the Tiger Temple compound in Kanchan­a­buri, 150km west of Bangkok, police and wildlife officials found 40 tiger-cub corpses piled in a freezer and the remains of ­another 20 stuffed into bottles and jars.

Wildlife-protection officials filed criminal complaints against five suspects, including monks living and working at the temple, for illegally possessing endangered animals or anim­al parts. Some were arrested while attempting to move tiger pelts and other body parts out of the temple.

Officials said yesterday the abbot of the temple and other senior monks could also face criminal charges as investigations widen.

On its Facebook site, the ­temple, which is famous for encour­aging tourists to pose with tiger cubs for a fee of 600 baht ($23) a turn, has said the cubs found in the freezer died of natur­al causes and were stored there on the recommendation of a veter­inarian. It said it had no knowledge of tiger pelts and tiger parts found at the temple.

Authorities are trying to determine whether the Tiger Temple was involved in the cross-border trade of endangered animals and, specifically, whether cubs were bred for parts.
“It’s too soon to reach that conclusion just yet,’’ said the deputy director-general of Thailand’s Department of Nation­al Parks, Adisorn Nuchdamrong.

‘We need to talk to the suspects and expand our investi­gation. We found food supplements apparently made from tiger parts, young antlers from other animals and a box and cans with labels in Chinese. This could be connected to distribution. But it’s still unclear whether they killed those tigers.

“It might be that they were ­delivered to the temple for trafficking and died. They are worth more when trafficked alive, so killing them doesn’t make sense.”


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