THE TIGER TEMPLE, THAILAND: THE ABUSE

The Tiger Temple has had numerous complaints about the way it treats it’s animals over the years, from international wildlife organisations, previous staff members and Tiger Temple volunteers, tourists and government departments.

The animal welfare standards at the Tiger Temple are shocking, and the deliberate physical abuse & cruelty the tigers suffer from at the hands of the staff only makes this huge problem worse.

Below are just a few extracts from the official report detailing the abuse at the Tiger Temple. Please read the full official Care for the Wild reporthere.

“Of all the concerns expressed by tourists who visited the Temple and reported their thoughts on Internet forums, probably the most frequent allegations relate to the abusive handling of tigers in their cages or in the ‘Tiger Canyon’. CWI (Care for the Wild International) Investigators themselves witnessed numerous incidences of physical mistreatment and abuse first-hand. Video evidence was collected and additional video clips have been posted on the Internet. To establish and maintain dominance over the tigers so that the animals can be controlled, Temple staff regularly subject the animals to different forms of violence and abuse. Examples observed by CWI Investigators include:

“Nanfa’s Case – Nanfa is a 20-month-old tigress. On the way to and from the Canyon, her regular handler used a double ended lead with a heavy dog clip on each end. Whenever Nanfa stopped the handler would strike Nanfa on the head with the free dog clip to get her to move again. When Nanfa managed to get away from the handler on one occasion, she was punished by being beaten on the head with a large metal patio umbrella pole for approx. ten minutes. A second member of staff looked on, laughing.

“In another incident, Techo, a 2 year old male, was being walked to the Canyon on a very hot day, when he stopped in the shade of a tree and refused to move. To get him to move, Techo was hit on the head with a rock and with a rod on the nose and paws. Staff also threw a rock at his stomach.

“In May 2007, one of CWI’s investigators helped to clean out Harnfas’ cage. This involved the use of a squeegee mop, with which Harnfa began to play. During play Harnfa managed to pull off the end of the squeegee. As soon as the tiger saw the stick end of the squeegee in the investigator’s hand rather than a sponge, Harnfa dropped to the ground, cowering with his eyes tightly closed and cringing backwards as if expecting a beating. The investigator asked two other volunteers why the tiger had acted like this, and they both said: “Harnfa has been beaten many times with wooden poles and branches; he thought you were going to beat him”. The following day Harnfa had fresh marks across his back, apparently from being beaten again.

“An incident witnessed repeatedly by investigators involved a male tiger called Hernfa. Hernfa was brought down to the tourists prior to going to the canyon and was chained to a tree to allow tourists to get a better look at him. A young member of staff came up behind Hernfa to grab and squash the tiger’s testicles. This is sometimes even done in front of a tourist. As stated earlier, Temple staff always stay close to the tigers, often in a threatening stance, and regularly squirt tiger urine into the animals’ face from a bottle at close quarters.”

This is just a small sample of the cruelty & abuse witnessed by the Investigators at Care for the Wild International. Many other tourists and volunteers have also come forward with details of the abuse & animal cruelty they have witnessed at the Tiger Temple. Some of these eye-witness accounts are below:

“On the 22nd of July 2006, Nanfa jumped off the rock she was sitting on and started to walk away. She was followed by a tiger handler called Karn who climbed on top of her and forcibly punched her in the face at least five times”.

The volunteer who witnessed the above animal cruelty also described her concerns and the incident to an international animal welfare NGO.

Tigers are also abused through lack of proper vetinary care – one example of the appalling lack of medical care for the tigers is the tiger Sai Rung. She was first seen with pus in both her eyes in August 2006. In September 2007, antibiotics were prescribed for her, but this was clearly not the answer – surgery was required, but did not happen until a staggering 6 months later, in January 2007. 12 months later, a Care for the Wild investigator photographed Sai Rung, and found her eyes still infected, most likely due to lack of post-operative care.

You can see for yourself some of the abuse that has taken place, and continues to this day at the Tiger Temple, in our Abuse Gallery

Read the recent Care for the Wild report looking into the Tiger Temple’s reputation for animal abuse & cruelty.