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FOUR PAWS seeks solution for “tiger temple” in Thailand



FOUR PAWS has already been in contact with the committee of the Luangta Maha Bua Temple in Thailand in order to improve the situation of the big cats kept there. The temple has gained notoriety among animal welfarists around the world. The Buddhist monks are keeping around 147 tigers there; visitors can have their picture taken with the animals for a high price, pet them and even lead them around on a leash. Due to increasing criticism and the statement of the senior veterinarian on site that three tigers are already missing, local authorities undertook a clamp down in the temple last Friday.


The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS is experienced in big cat care and operates a large big cat sanctuary for about a 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 and 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, many 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 the animal welfare workers the temple has no facilities to accommodate the tigers needs. 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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