Tiger Temple
 

Help the tigers

We have a selection of photographs for your enjoyment at
www.
buddhaphotos.co.uk

If you want to donate to help the tigers, see the
temple's website
at www.tigertemple. org/Eng/Donation.
htm
... or donate
online at
www.walking
withtigers.
org/walking.php

 

This year, 2007, marks an important point for Tiger Temple: it is a time when people from all over the world are watching to see if past dreams and ambitions are brought nearer reality.

At the same time, visitor numbers have been rising – with daily totals hitting more than 150 in busy periods – and the people handling the tigers changing almost completely from monks to local village youngsters, including many young women.

Somewhat worryingly, cubs born at the rescue centre are being socialised into the daily routine of meeting the visitors in Tiger Canyon rather than, as earlier promised, being trained for release into the wild.

However, the centre is evolving and growing with a construction manager now appointed and living at the monastery as he organises and supervises building work.

Tiger Island was little further on by the end of 2006 and the new ‘tiger housing' built on the ‘island' site was almost immediately ordered to be pulled down in favour of a new, circular complex that will enable the tiger cubs to be brought up without human contact – vital if they are to be trained for the wild.

The idea of training tiger cubs for the wild is extremely difficult in practice and in principle. At present, tigers are ‘cooled' by feeding them processed meat and depriving them of any idea of blood and food being regarded as one.

However, for training for the wild, they will have to be taught to kill ... how can a Buddhist (or anyone, including vegetarians and vegans, believing in the value of life) agree in principle to live animals being given to the tigers so they can hone their hunting and killing skills?

One possibility is the use of the temple's tigers to increase breeding at jungle centres trying to help repopulate the forests with the big cats. A jungle female, for example, could be impregnated by a Tiger Temple cat ... and she would teach the cubs, in her natural environment, how to survive in the wild.

This chimes with a strong contender for the evolution of Tiger Temple: extending its rescue role to include breeding and conservation aspects and offering tiger loans for breeding to other centres, in Thailand and abroad, trying to improve the numbers of tigers in the wild and the life of those in rescue compounds.

A recent project along those lines was the loan of a tiger to a centre in Laos that had a female rescue cat who was lonely.

In line with this evolution, Tiger Temple is exploring the possibilities of DNA testing all its tigers to ensure more controlled breeding and to allow it to slot into the worldwide conservation rules.

Meanwhile, it has been coming under the scrutiny of other animal welfare and conservation bodies as it works to bring itself into international standards of methods and aims.

Publicity still talks of a monk and his tigers ... but the reality of 2007 is that Tiger temple has become a big operation that needs to turn itself into a professional tiger conservation centre.

With the dedication of its founding abbot, Pra Acharn Phusit, it is likely to get there ... if it fails, it runs the risk of becoming just another animal show.

 

 
 
A time of change
and challenge
as more visit canyon
 
 
 
TOP
Laos.co.uk front
Buddhaphotos.co.uk
Vegn.info front
Tigers & temple
New home for tigers
Tiger section front page
Tiger Temple website
Walking with Tigers
Tigers in SE Asia
'Our amazing week at Tiger Temple'
Laos front
Vegn front
Buddhaphotos
 
Search & Rescue

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