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TIGER TEMPLE UPDATE PLEASE

  • razztravel

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2013
    Posts: 4

    July 2013
    A major highlight in my family's upcoming visit to Thailand in November 2013 was to be a visit to the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. I am bitterly disappointed at all of the negative posts that detail dreadful living conditions for these and other animals and mistreatment of the tigers, written by visitors and significantly by traveling volunteers who have worked at the property and "see it all" while there.

    One thing though, most of the posts are years old and I would like to see some recent updates on the situation please.

    Many thanks
    Very concerned.

    #1 Posted: 22/7/2013 - 11:04

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  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Why would you think it's any better? It's an awful place and it's all about making money. If you want to see tigers and other animals Safari World is much better. It's also cheaper and located in Bangkok so a tour there takes less time.

    #2 Posted: 22/7/2013 - 11:22

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 904
    Total reviews: 14

    Without even considering the moral issues raised by the many reports from wildlife professionals who say the Tiger Temple mistreats the animals, I'm personally all set with signing a safety release form that effectively takes any negligence responsibility off of the Tiger Temple in the event that one of the tigers decides to wake up and realize it's an incredibly powerful carnivorous animal and pounce on the travel writer trying to provide a "recent update". No travel insurance on earth would cover a person who gets hurt after willingly signing a release form and then posing for a photo-op next to adult tigers.

    #3 Posted: 23/7/2013 - 00:57

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
    Places visited:
    At least 42

    If you really want to see tigers Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai seems to get very good reviews. I didn't go there but ran into a few people that did and they really enjoyed it.

    #4 Posted: 23/7/2013 - 01:04

  • Sparts

    Joined Travelfish
    5th June, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 165
    Places visited:
    At least 17

    I was at Tiger Kingdom 3 years ago. I thought that the tigers were kept in good conditions and were very well treated.
    The keepers clearly cared deeply for their animals.

    I should say, I'm no expert.

    I've heard nothing of any improvements in animal welfare at Tiger Temple. But you are of course correct to ask the question.
    If they have changed their ways then that should be known - otherwise, why would they ever change their ways - looking at you LeonardCohen1 ;)

    #5 Posted: 29/7/2013 - 07:45

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
    1st March, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 563

    You would have been much better off not asking just going.

    Any business that provides photo ops with wildlife is compromising integrity. Wildlife belongs in the wild. That goes for so called "sanctuaries" "rescue" and other operations. They are all just an excuse for people to get much physically closer to wildlife than they would be able to in ... the wild.

    If you really care about tigers, elephants, all the various monkeys, etc. donate to some org that is working to conserve habitat, because without habitat all wildlife is destined for a Tiger Temple existence.

    If you do go, get some great photos.

    #6 Posted: 29/7/2013 - 09:07

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6291
    Total reviews: 10

    Funny you should mention monkey's. As primates, some of them seem to view us differently than most other wild animals would. Or perhaps they are just used to us because of proximity. We have a temple here where there are hundreds of monkey's hanging around. They are not domesticated, and if provoked they will bite you. The Monks leave food for them every day and if you go with fruit they'll take it from your hand - but they do so with much caution. I have a video of a bunch of them all around me, wanting some bannanas I had. They are wild, but...

    As for habitat, perhaps in some areas of SEA now there is a chance to stabilize a few national parks and protect that habitat. There is a very large portion of Chaiyapum province that is heavily forested with rugged mountains that can still sustain large mammal wild life. But for the most part, the large mammals are heading for the sancturies or they will die. I don't think realistically anything will prevent that.

    #7 Posted: 29/7/2013 - 09:47

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Sparts, why would the TT change their ways? They make millions every year from tours and people are lining up to go to this trash heap. Every single travel agent in Bangkok sells tours there and every single tourist brochure I've see overseas also sells tours there and these are major travel companies. These major companies have been hoodwinked into thinking this place is good where 'kind' monks are looking after the animals.

    Why don't Thais speak out against the poor treatment of the Tigers? Most Thais don't know and when there's money involved in Thailand things like animal welfare are not that important. Also the place is run by monks and Thais let monks go about their business without questioning them.

    This place has been promising for years that they will build a nice big sanctuary for them to roam around in but conditions don't change. The whole place is just a cash cow.

    Zoos, animal sanctuaries and reserves are important to preserve the life of these animals but it needs to be done with great respect and treatment of the animals in question but sadly in Thailand it's mostly about money.

    #8 Posted: 29/7/2013 - 20:28

  • emiliaj

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2013
    Posts: 7

    Hey, everyone! I would have to agree that places like TT don't change, but generally get worse and worse as time goes on. It's clear that their main prerogative at TT is money and the exploitation of these poor creatures. I wrote a small blog post on how I view/feel about animal exploitation in such places as Thailand:

    "So The Hotel I'm Staying at Has a Tiger"


    It is very disappointing to see animals exploited in tourist situations. Everyone just wants a great photo to show all their friends and families of their "exotic" trip to another country. How could taking a photo with an animal do any harm?
    I think a lot of people struggle with situations like these. The main issue at hand is that even if the tiger is in good condition with a healthy lifestyle, you are opening up the opportunity for a cruel and unnecessary market. Although I'm sure the trainers do actually care about these animals, as do the trainers at such places as SeaWorld, the hotel does not. The hotel is doing this for revenue and all this tiger is to them is one big dollar sign. Some important things to consider are:
    Is this tiger drugged? This is very common in countries such as Mexico for a lot of their photo-ops with wild animals. I have personally seen this with a lion cub on the street at a Kodak store.

    Does this tiger have all his teeth and claws? A lot of the times, wild animals have glands, teeth, or claws removed to make them more "pet" friendly.

    This opens up cruel and unusual ways of acquiring such an animal. Was he sold in the black market? Was he taken away from his mother at a very young age? Tigers in the wild are dying at an outrageous rate and we need more of these big cats out there and less in here.

    What will happen to this animal once he is full grown? These animals often get dumped off at "street zoos" or traveling circuses where they suffer for the rest of their lives.

    Although these are not common in ALL places, it is something that takes place. Another big issue is that this gives tourists the wrong impression about these big cats. When we see wild animals in close proximities, we see them as tameable and all of a sudden it appears as a feasible thing to have these wild creatures very close to us. When people see that a tiger is chained to a table for photo ops, it makes tourists who don't know any better think this is an acceptable way to treat animals. This is the wrong type of "education" we want to give to those who are not as well informed on animals.
    Some ways to help:
    Don't stay at hotels who house animals for monetary gain. It's as easy as that!

    Do not hold/touch/take photos with the animals. I know this might sound silly, but if other tourists see you handling the animal or taking photos, they see it as "ok" for them to do, too.

    Do some of your own research online! There are tons of sites and organizations out there that are against and help to prevent this exploitation.

    Sign petitions! There are a number of great petition sites out there. You can start your own or search to see if one already exists.

    Donate. You might feel like your money is just going into the dark abyss of a random organization, but I assure you it is going to a good cause (just make sure to do some research on whichever organization you choose).

    #9 Posted: 29/7/2013 - 21:33

  • gregmccann1

    Joined Travelfish
    28th October, 2009
    Location Taiwan
    Posts: 159
    Total reviews: 5

    I heard that Chinese tourists inquire about buying "tiger stuff" in both Kanchanaburi and Chiang Mai, hopefully they've been declined. I'd give the one in Kanchanaburi a miss for sure if you care about tigers.

    #10 Posted: 31/7/2013 - 09:38

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  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    A recent Trip Advisor review:

    We visited Tiger Temple in June this year and were incredibly disappointed. The whole thing is a complete scam, from start to finish. On top of an expensive entry fee, you are then forced to purchase clothing from them if they deem your clothing inappropriate – inappropriate clothing for them can range from showing your calf, to wearing colours that are too “bright”, but whether or not your clothes are inappropriate seems to be dependent on what the person collecting the tickets at the entry feels like at the time, rather than fact.
    Once you are allowed in, the gauging doesn’t stop… The tigers are behind a fence and to be allowed access with whoever you have travelled with, you need to pay again. Entry by yourself is free, but the line is significant and there is no shade from the blazing heat.
    If you would also like photos with the tigers, this too comes at an additional cost, whether you enter by yourself or as a group. Not that any self-respecting animal lover would even agree to have photos of these poor animals. All of the tigers are chained to the ground on chains only long enough for them to lift their head when they are whipped by the handler to have their photo taken. The heat is intense, and these animals have no shade or water whatsoever. It’s a sad, sad scene.

    #11 Posted: 31/7/2013 - 11:06

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    There have been bad reviews for years, yet the crowds keep coming. It just proves not many actually read online reviews before going.

    #12 Posted: 31/7/2013 - 11:36

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6291
    Total reviews: 10

    Or they don't care. They want the photo op with a Tiger.

    I watched a show one time in Germany that painted the Tiger Temple as some sort of mysterious place where the Monks and Tigers were living together in harmony. That the gentle nature of the monks soothed the Tigers... it was all kumbaya crap that likes the notion of a predatory animal being sentient and gentle - that there is a better way for all of us if we just reach out. The show ignored the abuses and the reality because they liked the hippy notion more than the reality.

    #13 Posted: 31/7/2013 - 11:41

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Well monks abuse tigers and some of them sleep with bargirls but they are monks so people turn a blind eye.

    #14 Posted: 31/7/2013 - 11:43

  • razztravel

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2013
    Posts: 4

    Well, thank you all for your contributions. This was to be a highlight of my trip to Thailand.
    Better to be informed. Guess I will be crossing that off my list.

    #15 Posted: 1/8/2013 - 07:23

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6291
    Total reviews: 10

    Razz,
    No worries. You'll find other highlights. Thailand is just a cool place.

    If you make it out Mukdahan way, look me up and I'll show you around.

    #16 Posted: 1/8/2013 - 07:36

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    "This was to be a highlight of my trip to Thailand."

    Which suggests there's a lot of ignorance out there and the mainstream TV stations haven't done a thing to highlight this. But the internet provides a lot of bad reviews if only more people read them.

    #17 Posted: 1/8/2013 - 10:18

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6291
    Total reviews: 10

    Well, at least the OP did.

    #18 Posted: 1/8/2013 - 11:52

  • Sparts

    Joined Travelfish
    5th June, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 165
    Places visited:
    At least 17

    Leonard, I hear what you are saying, but the internet is also full of ****, not to mention grudges, bias etc... it has it's limits of usefullness.

    The only recent review of the place on here is by someone who has posted over 400 times in 2 years, yet they still went along to see the Tiger Temple....

    BTW Leonard, are you Bruce Moon in disguise?

    #19 Posted: 2/8/2013 - 04:45

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    "The only recent review of the place on here is by someone who has posted over 400 times in 2 years, yet they still went along to see the Tiger Temple...."

    If this is me you are referring to then let me just clarify:

    - The review above is not mine rather one I copied from TA;

    - I have never been, nor do I intend going, to the Tiger Temple.

    #20 Posted: 2/8/2013 - 04:53

  • Sparts

    Joined Travelfish
    5th June, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 165
    Places visited:
    At least 17

    It was Chinarocks. Clarification appreciated ;)

    #21 Posted: 2/8/2013 - 05:08

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    Excellent. Have a great weekend!

    #22 Posted: 2/8/2013 - 05:12

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Bruce Moon? Umm no. Actually I've seen lots of negative reviews of the TT across diff forums and websites. If it was bad 3 years ago why would it be better now? People who mistreat animals don't change their spots.

    #23 Posted: 3/8/2013 - 08:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6291
    Total reviews: 10

    The seasons change. The weather changes. People, people don't change.

    #24 Posted: 3/8/2013 - 10:50

  • razztravel

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2013
    Posts: 4

    Thank you for the kind offer MADMAC.
    Many decades since I have been in Thailand but I have kept the interest and the speaking to some degree. I was told the other day I speak Thai with an Isan accent. lol I was an out of work muso layabout back then but this time I will be a bit of a tourist, ha!

    #25 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 00:43

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