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Tiger Temple

  • emmyb

    Joined Travelfish
    4th August, 2006
    Posts: 1

    I have dreamed of visiting the Tiger Temple in the Kanchanaburi province of Thailand ever since seeing a segment about it on a travel show.

    I will finally be heading off to Thailand in November, however the most recent Lonely Planet guide advises against going to the Tiger Temple.

    I was wondering if anyone had been there recently and what your impressions were?

    Also does anyone know of any alternative close encounter Tiger experiences in Thailand?

    Thanks

    #1 Posted: 4/8/2006 - 07:16

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  • neeners

    Joined Travelfish
    1st May, 2006
    Posts: 41
    Total reviews: 4

    I've been wanting to go there as well, and read that warning on the LP book.

    I wasn't able to go to Kanchanaburi when I went to Thailand a couple of months ago, but I came across a travel blog of a girl who went there last December. She said the tigers were pretty docile.

    Anyway, if you're interested to read, here's the URL: http://blogs.bootsnall.com/Miss+Nic/?p=14

    #2 Posted: 4/8/2006 - 23:58

  • somtam2000

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    Hi emmyb,

    Welcome to Travelfish!

    There's been a lot of (albeit unproven) allegations that the tigers are drugged in order to make them "safer" to be around. One of the guidebooks (I think it was LP, though I'm not sure) used to run a snippet saying at least one tourist had been badly mauled here, though that was quite a few years ago.

    We've visited the place and as Lonely Planet does, we suggest people give it a miss.

    There's a short review of it in our Kanchanaburi section.

    #3 Posted: 5/8/2006 - 06:58

  • djandau

    Joined Travelfish
    18th June, 2006
    Posts: 1

    We went to the tiger temple a couple of weeks ago. I'd give it a miss too as I found the whole experience a bit disturbing. I met a few people who thought that going there was an amazing experience for them, so it really depends on what you are looking for I guess.

    The tigers definitely seemed docile.

    #4 Posted: 6/8/2006 - 18:53

  • tokyobelle

    Joined Travelfish
    21st May, 2006
    Posts: 19
    Total reviews: 2

    It's secondhand info, but we opted out of the Tiger Temple on our (very busy) day trip of Kanchanaburi from Bangkok but others at our hotel did go and they later told us they wished they had taken our option, as they strongly felt that the tigers were drugged and it was not worth the additional 300 Baht admission.

    #5 Posted: 7/8/2006 - 23:00

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    THe Tiger temple is a tracesty and a MUST AVOID at all costs destination......the following was posted on Lonely Planet around 1 or 2 September 2007......

    bushchick has posted a reply to the thread entitled "Tiger Temple Kanchanaburi".

    How I wish I d read this thread a little while ago preferably before I had booked my ticket to Thailand and travelled half way across the world to go and live with monks and tigers for four weeks! I have to confess to finding it very difficult to write this without resorting to profanity, sarcasm or overly emotive language.

    I hope that by getting this onto this and a few other websites I can play some minor part in providing information and hopefully doing something about stopping what is going on in the name of Buddhism and Conservation at this "Sanctuary" for wild animals or at the very least stopping tourists from supporting this.

    I applied to volunteer at the Tiger Temple because I wanted to be a part of the promised tigers roaming free with Buddhist monks experience having an interest in both wild animals and Buddhism. Although I understood that there was probably an element of marketing speak due to the fund raising slant in the promotion of the Temple and the mysticism of the whole experience, I thought that, due to my research on the Temple website and other pages and blogs my expectations were realistic in terms of how these animals lived and were treated.

    The animal cruelty and abuse at the Temple was blatant and obvious to me from the minute I arrived. (The first animal I came across was at the Volunteer s House, a young and very distressed female cat who was engorged and in agony with too much milk. Her five 2 week old kittens had been removed from her by Temple staff and we were told - taken to a Cat Temple .

    I was surprised and upset to come across an animal in such distress as this was not how I would imagine a sanctuary would treat any animal). I arrived mid morning and on my first day one of the other volunteers who d been there for a few weeks took me around to show me the captive animals. (There is also a large number of farm type animals goats, cows, horses, chickens - and water buffalo, deer, wild boar and peacocks roaming around the Temple grounds.)

    The first cage I came across was a large chicken wire cage under a tree with a hawk in it. The bird apparently had a broken wing. It is never released from the cage. Then there was a row of concrete cages with single adult tigers, one with the baby tigers, and at the end of the row (with a large generator placed in front of it so one couldn t really see what was in this dark, dingy dungeon) a leopard who has, apparently, not been let out of the cage since she arrived there 8 years ago.

    My next visit was to a large, double sized concrete cage almost out of view of all the other cages, where they keep two very young (I would estimate them to be about 6 months old) lion cubs. The cage is bare but for a concrete bowl of water. There is nowhere for them to shelter or hide (they are clearly terrified of humans) and certainly nothing for them to play with no tyres or branches or any sort of toys.

    We then saw all the other tigers either on their own or with two in a cage. Some of the tigers are never released from their concrete cages. But others, on average 8 tigers a day (usually the same better behaved and better looking tigers not the stroppy ones or those with scars or bloody eyes) are taken into the Canyon to be photographed with tourists.

    This outing liberates them from their cages for a 10 minute walk on stony gravel to the Canyon, three hours chained by the neck to a ring in the blazing sun, and a 10 minute walk back home to their cages. On their way to and from the canyon the tigers are encouraged to move by being lifted by the base of the tail, shoved and punched. One tiger girl would always walk next to the tiger with a garden hoe in her hand, this she waved in front of the tiger s face or banged on the ground next to it whenever it slowed down or stopped. (The threat was implicit, but the tiger was motivated to move whenever it saw that hoe.)

    Whilst in the Canyon, the tigers are disciplined with Tiger Balm being rubbed onto their faces, tiger urine being sprayed into their mouths and (surreptitiously, but in full view of tourists) being punched quickly on the face and head. As to whether the animals are drugged or not, I cannot be sure. (Although sedation would surely be the kindest way of helping them get through those long hot hours in the canyon.)

    The argument against drugging is the expense and, I believe, the difficulty of dosage (meticulously worked out amount of drug to body weight) although local herbs mixed in with their boiled chicken could possibly work. (Some of them were completely unresponsive all the time, even when we visited their cages in the early mornings or in the evenings, and this could possibly imply properly prescribed drugs.)

    In the Canyon the volunteers are there essentially for crowd control. I felt ashamed at being apparently complicit in the running of this circus - which is really no more than a money making scam where tourists are required to donate B300 to come into a Buddhist Temple (illegal to charge, by the way), and another B1000 for a special photo with a tigers head placed in your lap.

    This place is operated along the lines of a very badly run zoo with no money - not an animal sanctuary which receives all this money (work it out, an average of 400 people a day and that s on a slow day with, say, very conservatively 50 people paying for photos) from tourists.

    Much of the money received over the years since the Animal Planet programme has been promoting it (since about 2003, I think) appears to have been (very recently, as in it has just started being built) spent on building a "Buddhist Park Project" which will essentially be an area to accommodate the followers of the Abbot's Teacher when he comes to visit the Temple!

    The Tiger Island ( for their freedom and return to the forest ) which is apparently the reason we all throw money at the Temple is not yet complete, but seems to be nothing more that an area for tiger cages with a moat built around it so tourists can't actually get at them and see how they live they will still operate the Canyon Photo Circus and, as they will still be hand reared, there is no plan to release tigers back into the wild.

    Although we could wander around the cages at any time and watch the workers with the tigers, volunteers were now prevented from ever actually being with the tigers (no cleaning of cages, no bathing of babies) and I was only ever really in the same position as the tourists and never able to see how the staff treated the animals when there were no tourists watching them but I feel that the way the tigers cringed away from chains, lengths of hose pipe, the garden hoe and some of the male staff members, that there was certainly discipline metered out behind closed doors .

    In the morning the baby tigers are brought to the temple where we have breakfast and are allowed to roam around with the monks, staff and volunteers. Every time a cub came anywhere near one of the volunteers, a staff member would yank it away, the babies (four of them are really little, 2 months old and one quite boisterous 5 month old he was tied to a pillar) were pulled around by one leg or held back by the tail, slapped so they skidded across the wooden floor boards, thrown up into the air, their faces held and noses punched, pinched and flicked, they were continuously mauled, teased and tormented.

    I have to admit that I couldn t stand it for very long and my planned 4 week stay lasted a mere 4 days. There is a flagrant lack of respect and compassion and certainly no love for these tigers. And this lack of feeling clearly gets worse as the animals get older and bigger and stronger.

    Essentially, the animal welfare laws in South East Asia are not stringent enough to close down this establishment due to the cruelty and abuse that is metered out there (along with the illegal breeding - one tigress is kept with the sole purpose of producing cubs - which are removed from her almost immediately after birth and reared by humans).

    All we can do in the short term is spread the word to stop tourists from supporting this place.

    Please boycott the Tiger Temple and report what you have seen to animal welfare organisations like Care for the Wild www.careforthewild.com

    #6 Posted: 2/9/2007 - 15:13

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
    Posts: 156
    Total reviews: 3

    Wow ... why do people not listen to all the negativity surrounding this place?! We hated it and felt it was a farce from the minute we stepped in there... although I did get my photo taken!

    I was surprised to see nice new homes being built in the grounds... but no sign of adequate facilities for the tigers...

    #7 Posted: 2/9/2007 - 20:21

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
    Posts: 156
    Total reviews: 3

    Wow ... why do people not listen to all the negativity surrounding this place?! We hated it and felt it was a farce from the minute we stepped in there... although I did get my photo taken!

    I was surprised to see nice new homes being built in the grounds... but no sign of adequate facilities for the tigers...

    #8 Posted: 2/9/2007 - 20:23

  • ChangFai

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    Location Thailand
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    The Sri Racha Tiger Zoo isnt much better , although you only get close to a baby tiger for a photo (gouging) opportunity.

    I still remember standing mouth agape at Thai people in the glassed off tiger enclosures , blacked up to appear Afican , and a nearby sign stating that these were "Kenyan Boys" , who were the only people that could handle the tigers as they came fom the same country , Kenya !!!!!!

    Kenyan Tigers in Thailand , a truly Amazing Thailand moment .

    Thailand has far to many real sights to be bothering with this type of made up nonsense that they think Tourist will enjoy .

    #9 Posted: 2/9/2007 - 21:12

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    The Sri Racha Tiger Zoo is probably WORSE than the Kanchanaburi Temple - scores of Tigers died there a couple of years back when they were fed with chickens infected with either SARS or Flu...I can't remember which....they but the cubs in with dogs and vice versa to create an AAAH scenario for the unsophisticated visitors - it should be shut down - in the UK that sort of stuff would probably result in legal action and fines or prison.

    #10 Posted: 3/9/2007 - 09:38

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  • ChangFai

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    KhunWilko
    I think read somewhere last month that they were also in trouble after selling over a 100 tigers to China .

    I do remember seeing loads of tiger cubs suckling on a large sow !!!!

    While we are speaking about Zoo's . Does anyone recommend a Thai one ?

    Prsonally , I think Dusit is an absolute disgrace.
    Chiang Mai is really trying to modernise , but I wouldnt recommend it to anyone just now . Khao Kheow wasnt too bad , but still nothing as enjoyable as the ones in Singapore say .

    Anyone ?

    #11 Posted: 3/9/2007 - 19:25

  • ChangFai

    Click here to learn more about ChangFai
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    Location Thailand
    Posts: 139

    #12 Posted: 5/9/2007 - 15:04

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    Khao Kheow just a short drive from the Tiger Zoo is a much more tolerable experience. 2 tier charging for foriegners though/

    #13 Posted: 5/9/2007 - 16:14

  • chopin

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2007
    Posts: 154
    Total reviews: 2

    This is most unfortunate. It is cruelty. Let's do our best to discourage other travellers from supporting this evil place and free those poor cats.

    #14 Posted: 5/9/2007 - 21:10

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    Update on the tiger temple....."unproven" as are ALL the posts on the net...so take it or leaveit....

    "have thoroughly researched the tiger temple and this is the highlights of the facts.

    * the original cubs were acquired through the tiger trade
    * the additional new cubs are acquired through the tiger trade
    * there is no veterinary care for these tigers of any benefit, and the tigers suffer endlessly
    * the diet is inadequate to the point the tigers bones are aged beyond there years
    * the mortality rate is 8 - 9 years old (captive tigers can live to 26+ when cared for correctly)
    * the beatings the tigers have recieved have malprinted them for life
    * the wildlife trade exists in the tiger temple

    Numerous other points.

    Dont think that because they are buddhists, that they are immune to corruption. They are.

    They may be attempting to build larger enclosures, but the temple is built on a foundation of lies and corruption and it will fall.

    #15 Posted: 16/5/2008 - 12:17

  • outofthebub-
    ble

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Wow, I had no idea about troubling news at the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo. Thankfully I looked this up before going there. We are at Sriracha now!

    our travel blog:
    www.outofthebubble.com

    Kevin and David

    #16 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 13:05

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    In truth most of these places - are really nearer to being FARMS - they only masquerade as zoos to make their despicable trade possible.

    #17 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 13:34

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    Wilko
    I agree with your position on the Tiger "Sanctuary". It's obviously a money making scam. The only thing you wrote that I found a little off base was the following:

    "in the UK that sort of stuff would probably result in legal action and fines or prison."

    In the UK (and western Europe and the US) a lot of "stuff" would probably result in legal action and fines or prison - which is why I left. The place is over-regulated. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    "Let's do our best to discourage other travellers from supporting this evil place and free those poor cats."

    The animals are never going to be freed. If the "sanctuary" ceases to be profitable, they will be sold to zoos. They most likely couldn't survive in the wild anymore anyway.

    #18 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 20:10

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United States
    Posts: 564

    Mac zoos won't have them, too many cats already, people buy or are given them as status symol pets then don't have the cajones to just put them down.

    I blame all of the above, animal "rescue" types are just another exploiter. If people really cared they'd save habitat. Want a cat go rescue a house cat down at the shelter, there are many needing homes. But never ever get a pet without making the commitment to care for it for the length of it's natural life.

    #19 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 21:34

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6410
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    I think the Habitat issue is a dead letter in SEA. The place is heavily populated and the big cats need a lot of space and animals to eat.

    #20 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 22:56

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 560

    Recently a report on habitat in Thailand for tigers suggested that there was actually enough suitable habitat for considerably more wild Tigers in Thailand.

    THe main problems tigers face are human interference e.g. poaching and the poaching of their prey.

    The tigers in captivity cannot be released - but BREEDING of captive tigers is highly dubious. Especially as in the case of the Tiger Temple when the animals are unrecorded and unregistered.

    The region of south East Asia including Thailand has a has sub-species of Tiger - Corbetts - if it is cross bred or inter-bred by places like the Temple it threatens the whole species as well.

    #21 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 09:18

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 560

    Mac - you need to read up on Tigers - and constitutions!

    #22 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 09:19

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    I'm pretty well read on constitutions - which is not relevent to Tigers. This is not really a rule of law society. You lived here long enough to understand how this place functions. BTW the reason I live here is precisely because it's not exactly a rule of law society.

    "THe main problems tigers face are human interference e.g. poaching and the poaching of their prey."

    That's the whole point Wilko - the humans aren't going away. They are not going to encroach less in the future, they are going to encroach more.

    This is not an issue that is going to be legislated away. You know that as well as I do.

    #23 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 09:27

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 560

    Sorry but you-re not showing a very good grasp of the issues here.

    please try and read up a little.
    you don't understand the habitat issue because you don't know the facts.

    As for your "theories" on rule of law - they are for somewhere else - Mattayom one maybe?

    #24 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 09:47

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6410
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    This is standard Wilko - don't retort with facts and information, rather try and attack the intelligence or education of the person who has a viewpoint different from you.

    That is not a valid discussion method, and I doubt many on this site will respect it.

    #25 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 17:08

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    It's not an attack, it's a conclusion.


    Unfortunately the Temple itself thrives on ignorance - the majority of the visitors are unaware of wildlife issues in general and obviously cannot come to an informed opinion in a visit of a few hours...... Then when the issues are pointed out to them they tend to take a defensive attitude rather than admit they've made a rather publc gaff.

    #26 Posted: 24/10/2009 - 10:34

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6410
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    "It's not an attack, it's a conclusion."

    No, it's an attack. Rather than be specific in pointing out where you disagree and why, you attack the person's intelligence or education (I have a University education). It's not a valid method of arguementation and I have seen you use it frequently - not just with me but others on the board. You have a lot of interesting insights to contribute, but you post on the board as if you are more intelligent or better informed than everyone else on every issue, when it is clear to me you are not.


    "Unfortunately the Temple itself thrives on ignorance - the majority of the visitors are unaware of wildlife issues in general and obviously cannot come to an informed opinion in a visit of a few hours...... Then when the issues are pointed out to them they tend to take a defensive attitude rather than admit they've made a rather publc gaff."

    I did not disagree with you on the Temple issue. In fact I agreed. Were you not paying attention?

    #27 Posted: 24/10/2009 - 13:31

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 560

    As this is tagential to the thread, I was trying to keep it brief (in my original comments about your post) - but as Mac still doesn't "GET IT" - I'll elucidate a little..........

    Mac - You are now just assuming that everything is an attack on you.

    I'm glad to hear that you have been to university.

    Unfortunately your views on habitat are wide of the mark - conclusion - you are not well informed on this subject but ready to make baseless statements.

    THe Temple needs to be exposed for what it is - and although you may think you agree with me, it does not help matters if you start posting inaccuracies and misconceptions without looking into the matter more.

    I don't know what you studied at Uni but when I went we were taught to research....in fact that is what I did for several years...

    I'm afraid that I feel I have to point out arguments (or argumentation???) by people who apparently don't know what they are talking about or at least haven't looked into the background properly before commenting - arguments made from a point of view of prejudice rather than deduction or probability and in your case where I have indeed pointed this out you take it as an attack on yourself - it is NOT, it is merely pointing out the paucity of your argument and it's lack of weight and why I think that is so.

    #28 Posted: 24/10/2009 - 21:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6410
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    Again, Wilko, you fail in specifics. You fail in EVERY CASE to specify what information is inaccurate and site sources with contrary information. You ALWAYS speak in generalities and stick to basic assertions of ignorance. This was true on the food poisoning issue, was true on the CC limit of Thai motorcycles and is true here. Are you saying that Habitat infringement is not an issue for Tigers in Southeast Asia? I mean, I am all ears here.

    #29 Posted: 25/10/2009 - 00:35

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 560

    You are obviously aware of what I'm criticising you on so read above - again

    #30 Posted: 25/10/2009 - 01:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    I think your critique is ill founded and short on specifics.

    #31 Posted: 25/10/2009 - 18:40

  • Steph88

    Joined Travelfish
    31st May, 2010
    Posts: 3

    The following are videos of an Australian lady who went undercover and filmed in there. This is all the proof anyone needs. The way they separate the cubs from their mothers is heartbreaking. Two new born cubs died while she was there because they were left in cold cages by themselves and not fed the number of times newborns should be. She witnessed tigers being sold and swapped. Please spread the truth about this disgusting place to anyone you know planning to go.

    Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdIwr4bRdOc

    Part 2 This video is part two showing the cubs separated from their mothers;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rEVsaOZsQY

    #32 Posted: 31/5/2010 - 10:34

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 560

    MM - Come on!

    You appear to be having a bit of difficulty with your vocabulary - "critique" = really now? - I think you should restrict yourself to words you understand and can spell; a limit of 4 letters or less maybe? - probably your best bet as you clearly have no idea what a critique is.

    Now "specifics" - OK - you haven't put any - the ideas you've put forward have been publicly ridiculed - so I'd say you are a bit short on those. Don't you?

    However - as I've put forward several specific instances and arguments I'd say that is a pretty stupid suggestion in the first place.

    If you'd like to elucidate please do - however I suspect by that last comment of yours that you really had no idea of what you were posting in the fist place - which let's face it is par for the course for most of your posts on this subject.

    If you are going to pick an argument and that's all you are trying to do isn't it? - at least try and choose a subject that you understand the basics of.

    Let me help you back on course - if you are determined to gainsay everything I say well that's NOT an argument.

    however - if you think I'm wrong about the Temple try and do what no-one has done so far and SAY WHAT IS GOOD about the place.

    but please THINK before you post and try not to look too many words up on Google it appears you only get confused.

    #33 Posted: 6/6/2010 - 18:59

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    Wilko
    You failed to notice I was not defending the temple, I was specifying that habitat is being increasingly eaten by humans - that habitat for large animals that require range eventually won't exist anymore and therefore for such animals will require some sort of breeding system to sustain them. I am not placing a judgement on this development. I am not advocating anything in this regard. I am simply stating what I think it obvious.

    #34 Posted: 7/6/2010 - 00:28

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    I remind you earlier in this thread I wrote:

    "Wilko
    I agree with your position on the Tiger "Sanctuary". It's obviously a money making scam."

    Remember?

    #35 Posted: 7/6/2010 - 00:32

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    With "friends" like you who need enemies?

    #36 Posted: 7/6/2010 - 08:34

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 560

    I have repeatedly pointed out that your views on habitat are not necessarily applicable in THailand or the region of the sub-species "Corbetti". ...and so your theories on breeding in captivity are not accurate.

    #37 Posted: 7/6/2010 - 08:37

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    "I have repeatedly pointed out that your views on habitat are not necessarily applicable in THailand or the region of the sub-species "Corbetti". ...and so your theories on breeding in captivity are not accurate."

    I have lived here long enough to understand two things:

    1. This is not a law based society. So passing laws is nt going to remove human encroachment - even if sufficient laws are passed. Human encroachment is going to expand, and Tigers are already under a lot of pressure.
    2. I am not arguing one way or another whether captive breeding programs are being done well here or anywhere else. I am pointing out that the species survival will likely become dependent on captive breeding in the future.

    You don't have like reality.

    #38 Posted: 7/6/2010 - 13:03

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