I went to the Tiger Temple on 23/3/10 with my sister and nieces. It was patently obvious these tigers are drugged. They were between 8 and 10 tigers laying around in various states of consciousness, ranging from totally out of it, i.e could be turned from its side full onto its back ( to get it in a more photogenic position) without even a flicker of its eyelids, to barely awake. All laying down, whilst workers spray water in their faces to get them to face the cameras. One of the 'tame' tigers had come round enough to stand and pace a little on its chain, although strangely no-one was allowed anywhere near it.
When asked the workers, volunteers and monks all say that the tigers are not drugged, just sleepy after a meal in the heat and used to being handled. i suppose there's nothing like having hundreds of strangers pet you to make you so relaxed you lose consciousness! Whilst we were there we saw a younger, smaller tiger in a different part of the compound, obviously not drugged, dragging its handler around. It could only be control by a larger man and someone banging on a bin-lid with a stick to prevent it going in unwanted directions.
Make no mistake folks these tigers can only be drugged to behave as they do under extremis. The workers+ volunteers are either stupid or liars, what else can they be? The monks are hypocrites as well as liars. I calculated (roughly) how much the temple was taking in a wk, a conservative estimate came out at somewhere btwn £35.000 and £50.000 english pounds. In a country where the average wage is £3000 p.a. that's one serious cash-cow! They claim to be about conservation but seem more concerned with conserving their money than the welfare of tigers. They claim to have a release programme yet no advertising of any figures, or how these 'tame' tigers are doing in a land where poaching is lucrative? Believe me when i say i have tried to get hold of any facts or figures on this to no avail! One would think they would be proud of their so called release programme so why the lack of info?
People would still pay to see tigers in a natural enviroment and I'm sure be very intersted in how they achieve release back into the wild. Maybe it wouldn't be as much of a cash-cow, but would certainly benefit and befit these beautiful, stunning animals.
Finally i urge you whoever you are not to go. If you really care about tigers take no part in this exploitation. There are better ways to help tigers. If you do go then at least go in the knowledge of what you are going to and prepare to feel proper sad as me, my sis and nieces did! Thanks for taking the time to read this B
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