Tigers Rescued From Tiger Temple, Die In Thai Government’s Custody
Animals and man need to live in unison. We both belong to this planet and we need to look after the other. Since man is the dominant species on the planet it is our moral duty to look after all the animal species on our planet.
This is why there are tons of wildlife sanctuaries all over the globe. Their only aim is to protect and preserve endangered species. But, unfortunately, greed is a human flaw that turns these safe havens for animals into torture chambers.
The temple in question is the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, a Theravada Buddhist temple located in the Sai Yok District in the western province of Kanchanaburi. It was established in 1994 as a sanctuary for wild animals, especially tigers. The temple charged an admission fee to let tourists enter and see tigers, and even click selfies with them.
2The first investigations
Sybelle Foxcroft, the cofounder of Cee4Life, started looking into the Tiger Temple and its activities in 2007, as part of her master’s thesis. She eventually started collaborating with National Geographic and reported for them. She was one of the first people who had seen signs of the tigers’ health being compromised. She saw signs of neurological impairment, disorientation, and weakness in a Bengal tiger called Mek Jnr who was walking into walls.
3What happened there?
Far from being a sanctuary, many Thai activists accused this place of mistreating the animals and illegally selling their parts. In 2005, the place was cleared of such charges by wildlife officials. Then charges were pressed for possessing protected birds. In 2015, Thai officials raided the temple and in 2016 Thailand Wildlife Conservation Office (WCO) started relocating the animals from the temple.
4The shocking discovery
As officials started to see what was inside the temple, they were shocked. 147 captive tigers were found. Sadly, they also found the frozen corpses of more than 40 tiger cubs, some of them dead for over 5 years. One monk was caught trying to flee with 1600 tiger parts. The reason this news spread like wildfire is that tigers are an endangered species and thousands of people are trying hard to protect them.
Some wildlife protection organizations claimed that the temple used to breed tigers and eventually sell and export them to tiger farms in Laos, thus violating the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Commercial breeding of protected species is banned by national governments and world organizations alike.