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FOUR PAWS seeks solution for “tiger temple” in Thailand


Animals spend their days chained or kept in cages

 

April 29 2015. THAILAND - In order to improve the situation of the now famous tigers at the “tiger temple,” FOUR PAWS has already been in contact with the committee of the Luangta Maha Bua Temple in Thailand. The temple has gained notoriety among the animal welfare community around the world. Around 147 tigers are housed at the temple where tourists have flocked to have their picture taken with the animals, feed them, pet them and even lead them around on a leash. Due to increasing criticism, and the recent admission from the temple’s veterinarian on site that three tigers are already missing, local authorities clamped down at the temple last Friday.

 

FOUR PAWS, the international animal welfare organization, is experienced in big cat care and operates a big cat sanctuary for approximately hundred lions and tigers in South Africa. Vet surgeon Dr. Amir Khalil from FOUR PAWS reported from the site in Thailand: "We have been trying for some time now to convince the management of the temple that the tigers are clearly not kept in a species appropriate way. The animals are exposed daily to large numbers of visitors which causes constant stress, they are fed the wrong food, spend most of their time in small concrete cages or are kept chained in the temple area. In addition, there is no controlled breeding program and many of the animals exhibit characteristics of inbreeding. This is definitely not an endangered species program, but a tourist attraction, at the expense of the animals!"

 

According to statements made by the local conservation authority DNP (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation), the monks could now be forced to give the tigers away. During the authorities’ check, 147 tigers were counted. The animals were reared by hand and therefore can never be reintroduced into the wild. One thing is certain for animal welfare workers, the temple has no facilities to accommodate the complex needs of a big cat species like tigers.  At the moment, there is no facility in Thailand which could accommodate such a high number of tigers. Dr. Khalil states "We want to actively participate in a long-term solution, a lifelong safe home for the tigers. FOUR PAWS has the necessary expertise in the field of big cats. We now need to count on the help of the monks and the local authorities to achieve this. The latter must of course first create the framework for a new tiger sanctuary in Thailand. This may also be open for visitors, but must first and foremost take into account the natural needs of these proud wild animals."


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