Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tiger Temple Sues Conservationists - Please Give Support

Please Spread the word far and wide - give your support. The Tiger Temple is an evil commercial exploiter of Tigers. - Peter



Tiger temple sues conservationists and newspaper reporter over complaints of illegal wildlife possession, animal torture and alleged illegal trade in tigers with foreign countries without permit.

Three local conservationists are being handed over by police to court on Wednesday the 3rd of February at 10:00AM at the provincial court of Kanchanaburi Province. The three are being accused of defamation by the infamous Tiger Temple after a news article in the Thai Post newspaper in April 2009 where accusation were made about animal torture, illegal wildlife trade and possession taking place at the tiger temple. All three conservationists and animal welfare experts were quoted in this article as having a derogatory opinion of the tiger temple.

At the Tiger temple (Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yannasampanno, Kanchanaburi) hundreds of foreign tourists daily vist the zoo to see and make pictures with the tigers. Entrance fee is 500 baht per person while making “special photos” costs 1,000 baht extra. For a morning experience people pay 4,500 baht per person to feed the cubs and watch the cub-exercise session.

At least a dozen tigers are being dragged from their small enclosures every afternoon down to a sun-backed hot valley to pose with tourists. These tigers are extremely lethargic and allegations have been made that they are being been drugged. When tigers are not obedient before, during or after the photo-session they are sprayed by the keepers with urine from bottles in their eyes and faces and/or hit with wooden sticks on their backs and heads. All tigers at the Tiger Temple are hybrid tigers that originated from a commercial tiger farm in Ratchburi province. The value to conservation of hybrid wildlife is zero. The release of hybrid wildlife back to the wild is considered a biological crime by conservation experts worldwide. In the past years several tigers from the tiger temple have mysteriously disappeared once mature, and some when there were excess cubs. The copy of a contract was found in 2008 where the tiger temple agreed to send tigers to an illegal tiger farm in Laos, signed by the tiger farmer, the abbot of the temple and a member of the temple board. The export or exchange of protected wildlife such as tigers is illegal by Thai law and the international treaty CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species). The Department of National Parks, Plants and Wildlife has never issued a permit to the tiger temple to exchange or export tigers. As a matter of fact the tigers at the temple have been confiscated in 2002 as they were illegally obtained, but were allowed to stay at the temple as the authorities had no shelter available to care for the tigers while the authorities were looking in to the legal case. A zoo permit was issued on a plot of land next to the temple on the name of a commercial enterprise in July 2009, however nothing has been built there to this date and the tigers are currently still being exploited on temple grounds.

Comments and complaints made by many conservationists and animal welfare activists were made to make people aware about the torture, illegal trade and the real value to conservation and to make a stop to the suffering of animals.

People being charged:

Edwin Wiek
Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT)
Tel: 08-90600906
Web: http://www.wfft.org/

Dr. Surapon Duangkae
Wildlife Fund Thailand under Royal Patronage
Tel: 08-67790454

Mr. Sawan Sangbunlang
Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Tel: 08-19347374
Web: http://www.thaispca.org/

Websites on the tiger temple:

http://www.tigertempletruths.org/  (informative website)

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=293971072672  (discussion group)

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=95165464756  (discussion group)

CITES website http://www.cites.org/

Edwin Wiek
Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand
108 moo 6, Tambon Thamairuak
Amphoe Thayang


Please read my own article on the Tiger Temple: The Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Thailand



  1. Hold on Peter
    I think that branding this place as 'evil', on the evidence that I have seen to date, is a bit over the top. As to if these people are guilty of deformation is up to the Court and not for us to decide. I am pretty sure that the tigers are not treated as well as they would be in the Western World but that is true of many things in Thailand as you well know. I would certainly like the Thai Authorities to have a close look at this place to see what is going on, but the same could be said about the police or the 'entertainment' industry !!!.

  2. With the greatest respect mephitis this is not about the West, police or entertainment industry. The fact that the temple is in Thailand excuses nothing. The evidence against the place collected by past volunteers and conservation bodies is overwhelming. Sadly this really has little to do with the Temple or the Monks. There are big shadowy commercial figures hiding behind their robes roping in the cash from gullible and ill informed visting tourists. I believe this along with irresponsible breeding, tiger trading, deliberately pulling young etc is evil. That is why I said so.

  3. I hear what you say Peter, but irresponsible breeding, tiger trading and pulling young all took place in the UK during your working life. In today's more enlightened times we would consider these kinds of thing as very undesirable, but Thailand has a long way to go before it reaches our high standards of both human and animal welfare.
    If past volunteers and conservation groups have evidence that these 'big, shadowy, commercial figures' are indeed breaking Thai law, whilst using the Monks and the Temple as a front, then they should poke the Thai Authorities into taking action. As to if
    us tourists visiting foreign lands and dipping our feet into the local culture are gullible or just inquisitive, I think that this is just a matter of opinion!! I still feel that 'EVIL' is rather over the top.

  4. We shall have to agree to disagree then. Evil would still be my choice of words. True enough I have seen big changes in the zoo world but do not see that as an excuse for what happens today in Thailand or anywhere else. At least one conservation groups has poked the Thai authorities and that is why they are in court today. Others have tried through diplomatic channels and no doubt will continue to do so.

    I have found that people who visit the Tiger Temple in ignorance are not able to see through the veneer. They need to be made aware of what is going on.
    I can imagine their thrill of the experience. I can picture the photograph of them with the tiger having pride of place back home (perhaps a major coversation piece). I also realise it may even make them more conservation aware...but this has all been built on the back of a lie at the expense of current and long term animal welfare. It is wrong...and could and should be put to rights.
    There really is no defence for the practices being practised there. Thailand is a modern and progressive country. There are zoo people in Thailand who are in the know. I have not said that the tourists are evil, just the irresponsible management style of the unfortunate animals in this greedy commercial collection.