June 1, 2016

40 frozen tiger cubs found in a freezer at the Tiger Temple in Bangkok, where tourists get to interact with tigers.

The NYT reports.
The discovery came as Thai wildlife rangers were removing adult tigers from the temple in an effort to shut down the attraction after receiving complaints that the temple was trafficking in endangered species.... Tiger parts, while illegal to sell, are in high demand in Asia, particularly China, for use in traditional medicine....

The wildlife agency has been trying for months to shut down the Tiger Temple’s zoo. The temple has promoted itself as a spiritual center where people and tigers lived in harmony, and it has charged tourists as much as $140 apiece for the chance to bathe, hand-feed and play with the tigers.
Here's a slide show of tigers at the Temple. Captions: "Tigers cooled off in a pool at the Tiger Temple, an attraction in western Thailand that officials promote as a place where animals coexist with humans in Buddhist harmony. Conservationists accuse the temple of abuse and exploitation." "A monk accompanied tourists and staff members on a walk with one of the tigers. About 15 monks live on the grounds and have little to do with the tigers beyond occasionally posing with them for tourists." "A staff member taking photos for tourists. A standard ticket, which costs about $17, entitles a visitor to walk a leashed tiger and pose with a chained tiger."

From an earlier article (last month):

“We built this temple to spread Buddhism,” said Supitpong Pakdjarung, a former police colonel who runs the temple’s business arm. “The tigers came by themselves.”...

The 15 or so monks who live on the grounds have little to do with the tigers beyond occasionally posing with them for tourists. But a Buddhist atmosphere is part of the pitch. The temple promotes itself as a place where tigers betray their wild nature to coexist with humans in Buddhist harmony.

“We can live together peacefully because of kindness,” Mr. Supitpong said....

The Buddhist imprimatur also makes the temple a powerful adversary in its legal battle with the government. In Thailand, the moral authority of monks rivals the secular authority of the law.

“They have the power to say right or wrong in terms of morality,” said Surapot Taweesak, a scholar in philosophy and religion at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University in Bangkok. “This makes people listen and not dare to argue or debate with monks for fear of being sinful.”

17 comments:

tim maguire said...

Is there nothing that's not a racket?

traditionalguy said...

Tigers are overrated. Panthers (Pumas) are better nocturnal hunting cats. Tigers just roar a lot.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim maguire said...

Is there nothing that's not a racket?

I'm not. And you're welcome to join me in not being a racket. ( All it takes is a small, $250 donation to my foundation... )

MikeR said...

"use in traditional medicine" - wow. Traditional doctors must have been very dedicated.

tim maguire said...

Thanks Ignorance! Where do I send my check? The last really great charity I supported was the Chicago All Saints Hospital. On the checks, they asked that I just use the acronym.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Do they breed well in captivity? If so, this isn't affecting the endangered status.

tim maguire said...

exhelodrvr1 said...Do they breed well in captivity? If so, this isn't affecting the endangered status.

Except that breeding pairs are going to waste.

Bob Boyd said...

I was there some years ago. It isn't often a person can actually touch a live tiger or play with a tiger cub. I enjoyed it. There weren't nearly that many tigers at the time, maybe a dozen including the cubs. I was surprised to read how many they have now.
I don't think it started as a racket, but maybe it has turned into one. That's often how it goes.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Tim,
Are they supposed to be re-introducing the cubs into the wild? If not, the excess off-spring of captive breeding pairs are not impacting the endangered status.

gerry said...

Take a tiger on a leash for a walk! Live in harmony with meat-eating beasts! Make friends with a gorilla! Ain't nature grand?

AprilApple said...

Cruelty for a buck. Nothing new.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado is filled with animals that have been rescued from situations where someone tried to make a buck off a cruel situation with a live animal.

furious_a said...

"Traditional medicine" = "Aphrodisiacs". Tiger Penis Soup, I kid you not. F*cking barbarians.

furious_a said...

Asian male enhancement market is why rhinos are disappearing, too.

MadisonMan said...

40 Frozen tiger cubs found in a freezer

Where else are you going to find 40 frozen cubs?

Rae said...

The best way to save an endangered species is to make them worth something to the local population. There are many examples in Africa, where allowing safari's brings a lot of money into the local economies, and the locals have a stake in protecting the species.

Fernandinande said...

Many moons ago I was dentally disturbed and getting nitrous at the dentist's. He had NPR on, talking about people freeze-drying their dead pets; work was delayed until I could stop laughing.

EDH said...

Put a Tiger in Your Tank?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOLVmUZN-zU&feature=youtu.be&t=20s