Taming The Tigers: Tiger Temple Or Just Tourist Tigers?

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In 1994 a Buddhist Temple was founded in Thailand. It would become one of the most well-known tourist attractions, where the public could interact with Tigers. But it hid a terrible secret; it would also come to be known as one of the most infamous tiger breeding, trading and abusive facilities in the world!

Sybelle Foxcroft was the undercover investigator who exposed this. After the Thai Government and no conservation agency moved on this violent place, Sybelle continued to go into the temple and investigate herself with her conservation organisation, Cee4life (Conservation and Environmental Education 4 Life).


In 2011, she released the book ‘Behind the Cloak of Buddha’ which chronicles the lives of these tigers. They will never have lived their lives in vain.

On October 2012, Sybelle went back with David O’shea…here is the outcome….

Here is the YouTube video for the Dateline program. I went back to the Tiger Temple with Dateline journalist David O’Shea to check on the Tigers welfare, to see any changes, and to provide education for the public to travel ethically. Please share this with everyone you know.

Until people are educated about this place and others like it, animals will continue to be abused, animals will suffer, and animals will disappear, all because people think its cool to “pat” these wild creatures. Save your money and support the last 3000 tigers left in world in the wild, and help us protect the ones in captivity from illegal wildlife trade and exploitation ~ Sybelle

Taming the Tigers

Published on 30 Oct 2012 by 

Thailand’s Tiger Temple attracts thousands of tourists, but activists claim there’s a history of ill treatment and illegal trafficking of animals.

For more on David O’Shea’s story, go to the SBS Dateline website…http://bit.ly/V2BCgG

Temple Tigers attacks Tourist – The Tiger is known to have a most powerful bite force of 1000 pounds/453kg when adults. A Tiger can kill at human when they are 6+ months old. On 15th October 2012, a female tourist walked into the temple and within 10 minutes she was rushed to hospital after a young tiger attacked and bit her. She has 9 stitches and is ok. Imagine if that was your head, your child’s torso..

The only reason I know is because I was there. Tourists sign and indemnity form when entering the temple, releasing them of any accountability  I am compiling a list of injuries, attacks, and bites on tourists in the tiger temple over the years. I’m doing this for 2 reasons, for safety of humans, and to support the captives Tigers of the temples right to live in ethical and humane situations, away from people pulling their heads around and sitting on them etc.

They ARE survival specialist carnivores. If you or any only you know has been bitten, please send detailed information to sybelle@cee4life.org or donna@cee4life.org There is no magical care that can make tigers placid, Tigers have and will continue to attack human beings that put themselves in such dubious close proximity. Please respect your life, your loved ones, and respect these tigers. Learn to look but not touch. – Sybelle

The Drugging of the Temple Tigers – For those of you who haven’t read the book “Behind the Cloak of Buddha” I would like to clear up the “drugging of the tigers”. This so-called drugging was mentioned by one girl who never provided any proof back in 2006. There was no proof then and there is no proof now. However this girl said the Tigers were drugged to the conservation organisation who conducted the investigation and so the “story” began.

I became the undercover investigator in 2007 in the Temple and I can guarantee you that I watched from 5am -11pm and not once did I catch them giving any classic drugs (injections, pills) to the Tigers. However, I did repeatedly observe Tigers displaying classic signs and symptoms of sedation eg: unsteady, eye dialated, tongue hanging out, increased thirst, etc however still no evidence of drugging.

There are herbal concoctions that cause sedative effects which could easily have been put in their food, however again I never caught them doing that either. One afternoon I followed Hernfa back to his cage, there was something wrong with him. He was staggering, incredibly off balance, and he could barely make it to his cage. He fell onto the floor. I called his name and he struggled to lift his head, his eyes could barely focus on me. This is one of the photos of him in this state. (there are a series of them).

Hernfa drugged or exhausted?

Picture taken by  Sybelle- Drugged or not? This is Hernfa one of the photos of him in this state. (there are a series of them). Was he just extremely exhausted?

Was he just extremely exhausted? He would be from 500 people. But I set about trying to find the reason for the extreme lethargy that all the Tigers displayed and I was able to determine this. These Tigers are locked in cells 20 hrs per day, no sunshine, no exercise, no enrichment. They are then pulled out for the tourists for 4 hours where they are yanked up and down for photos. Additionally, not one of these Tigers has a correct diet.

All have NEVER had red meat or blood or bones as a carnivore should, they are lacking in multiply vitamins and minerals etc, they are in a weakened state already. Then, many had been beaten from birth and the continued abuse of punches in the head and urine sprayed in the face has been caught on camera by many tourists. None of the Tigers have any real muscle tone at all and many have lost a good amount of their eyesight because of the lack of taurine in their diet. (Taurine is found in a normal carnivore meat diet and causes eye problems when there is a lack of it. In these Tigers cases, it is non existent).

So you have, unhealthy, weak, defeated, abused, unenriched, lacking exercise who cant see properly Tigers being dragged around day after day for their life. And then one day in the Tigers food preparation area I found the leaf of the Kratom tree, a category 5 narcotic, illegal but a native tree to Thailand…… Was this what caused this effect on the Tigers? Or was it purely the abuse in every way of the Tigers…. There will only be one way to find out, thorough drug testing outside of Thailand. Sybelle


Tiger Temple – The Screaming Tigers!

Uploaded by  on 16 Nov 2010

Tiger Temple – A walk through the lives of the tigers from cubs to adults to the unethical tourism of the Tiger Temple. Please help save the lives of these tigers from suffering and abuse by joining http://www.cee4life.org and become a voice for these tigers. You can also join us on Facebook Cee4life where you will find various links to the petition and other information on the tigers of the temple and ethical travel. Refuse to be a part of this exploitation and abuse of these magnificent creatures or any other creature, Sybelle Foxcroft

Link to petition –http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/The-Wildlife-Trade-Tiger-Temple-Behind-the-C…

Face book:-https://www.facebook.com/BehindtheCloakBuddha


Tiger Temple death accidental: Says Temple Vet

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The veterinarian at the “Tiger Temple” – Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, in Kanchanaburi‘s Sai Yok district -said yesterday that the death of a tiger on May 26 resulted from a freak accident, but the temple treated its tigers well and cooperated with Thai authorities. The mysterious death of the tiger had led to fears animals at the temple were being mistreated.

Veterinarian Somchai Wisetmongkolchai said temple staff hung a tyre on a chain for tigers to play with, but next morning found the one-year-old female tiger dead with the chain around its neck. It had sustained serious neck wounds as it apparently tried to chew the chain off its neck.

Somchai checked and photographed the wounds, alerted the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and submitted a report on the tiger’s death to the Conservation Area 3 Office (Ban Pong). Authorities came to inspect the death as per normal procedure, he said.

Insisting the tigers were well taken care of and that each tiger had a microchip implanted and registered with the department, he said a Mahidol University (Sai Yok) vet checked on the tigers on a regular basis. He had suggested the department stuff the tiger carcass for educational purposes, rather than burn it, he said.

Conservation Area 3 Office (Ban Pong) director Yutthachai Pattamasonthi said the department instructed his office to work with the Tiger Temple to examine the carcass for the cause of death at the Mahidol University (Sai Yok)’s livestock and wildlife hospital.

News Link:-http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20120603-350247.html

“I’m not so sure I believe the tigers are micro-chipped,  nor am I sure regular vet checks are made! The following  is  just one of many videos, taken by Sybelle Foxcroft, an undercover investigator who exposed the abuse at the temple. ….so when I saw this particular news snippet, I thought what better time than to show one of the videos I’m talking about. Watch the other videos, see the homepage & Facebook page ‘Behind the cloak of Buddha’ which show’s the abuse is continuing today, then please sign the petition!”


Uploaded by  on 16 Nov 2010

Tiger Temple – A walk through the lives of the tigers from cubs to adults to the unethical tourism of the Tiger Temple. Please help save the lives of these tigers from suffering and abuse by joining http://www.cee4life.org and become a voice for these tigers. You can also join us on Facebook Cee4life where you will find various links to the petition and other information on the tigers of the temple and ethical travel. Refuse to be a part of this exploitation and abuse of these magnificent creatures or any other creature, sybelle xo Link to petition –http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/The-Wildlife-Trade-Tiger-Temple-Behind-the-C…

Home page:– http://www.cee4life.org/tigertemple.php

Facebook page:-https://www.facebook.com/BehindtheCloakBuddha

Petition :http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/The-Wildlife-Trade-Tiger-Temple-Behind-the-Cloak-of-Buddha/

Tiger Temple – The Screaming Tigers – Cee4life

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English: Tiger temple, where it is possible to...

Image via Wikipedia

Tiger Temple

A walk through the lives of the tigers from cubs to adults to the unethical tourism of the Tiger Temple. Look at the tiger to the right, does that tiger look drugged to you??

Please help save the lives of these tigers from suffering and abuse by joining http://www.cee4life.org and become a voice for these tigers. You can also join us on Facebook Cee4life where you will find various links to the petition and other information on the tigers of the temple and ethical travel. Refuse to be a part of this exploitation and abuse of these magnificent creatures or any other creature

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 please sign the petitionhttp://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/The-Wildlife-Trade-Tiger-Temple-Behind-the-Cloak-of-Buddha/

Tiger Temple – Tiger abuse

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Illegal Trade, Animal Cruelty and Tourists at Risk at the Tiger Temple An investigation at Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.


Following the worldwide broadcast of a two-part television documentary on the Thai Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi by Animal Planet, this facility has become a popular tourist destination that attracts hundreds of international visitors each day.

The Tiger Temple’s success is based around claims that its tigers were rescued from poachers and live and move freely and peacefully amongst the temple’s monks, who are actively engaged in conservation and rescue work. Prompted by concerns raised by tourists and Tiger Temple volunteer workers, Care for the Wild International’s (CWI)  investigation uncovered disturbing evidence of serious conservation and animal welfare concerns, including:

– illegal tiger trafficking

– systematic physical abuse of the tigers held at the temple, and

– high risk interactions between tigers and tourists.

This report is based on information collected between 2005 and 2008.


Illegal Trade

Tigers are threatened with extinction in the wild, and international trade in tigers is recognised as one of the principal causes behind that threat.  Whilst the Tiger Temple claims it received its first tigers legitimately as animals rescued from poachers, CWI has obtained evidence that, rather than continuing as a rescue centre, the Temple now operates as a breeding facility and is involved in the clandestine exchange of tigers with the owner of a tiger farm in Laos. These actions contravene Thai, Laos and international law (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora – CITES). CWI has also been in contact with a Thai wildlife trader who claims to have sold the original first few tigers to the temple.

Exchange or sale of tigers across international borders is prohibited under international and Thai law.  But CWI uncovered that at least seven tigers have disappeared from the Temple between 2005 and 2007, and at least five individuals appeared without explanation (one of whom died soon after arrival).  CWI uncovered evidence of regular dealings by the Tiger Temple with a tiger farm in Laos, involving both the import and export of tigers. Most commonly, older animals from the Temple were exchanged for young cubs from Laos.  Newly arriving tigers are often given identical names to animals who had been transferred from the Temple to Laos to obscure the fact that tigers are being moved in and out, and to create the illusion of continuity in line with the Temple’s claim that it provides its tigers with life-long care.


Breeding tigers requires a Government licence under the Thai Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act 1992.

The Temple does not have such a licence but has, by its own records, bred at least 10 cubs from its original animals. A number of other cubs were born, but did not survive.

To be part of a conservation breeding programme, the genetic make-up and history of an animal’s parents must be known. But the original animals at the Temple are of unknown origin, nor have they been DNA-tested to identify their sub-species. With this background, the Temple cannot participate in any recognised conservation breeding programme.

Moreover, there is consensus amongst conservationists that releasing captive-bred tigers is almost never a viable option because of shortage of natural habitat and, in the case of animals that are used to human proximity, such as the tigers at the Temple, release is potentially fatal to tigers, humans and livestock



International zoo guidelines recommend enclosures for tigers of at least 500m2 per pair or for a female and her cubs. This should include a large outdoor space as well as indoor dens.  The space should be enriched with a variety of  substrates, climbing structures, and water to swim in. The Tiger Temple keeps approximately 15 tigers at any one Far from being allowed to roam freely as claimed in the Temple’s brochures, most animals spend almost all their lives in small, barren concrete and iron cages, measuring just 9m x 3.5m (31.5m2) or 12m x 3.1m (37.2m2). Late in 2007, a new enclosure was opened which has a limited area of outdoor space (about 80 – 100m2) as well as two indoor cages similar to the older ones.  This new enclosure houses 2 or 3 tigers.  Apart from their totally inadequate size, the cages contain virtually no enrichment. Long-term housing facilities at the temple therefore fall woefully short even of minimum requirements.


The recommended diet for captive tigers should consist of entire carcasses, including meat, bone, offal and skin. This should be supplemented with minerals and other essential nutrients. Meat should normally be provided raw, to avoid breaking down vital vitamins and other nutrients.  A minimum of 3 to 4 kg of meat per day is the recommended requirement to maintain healthy body condition.  At the Tiger Temple, the tigers’ diet consists largely of chicken carcasses (from which the best meat has been removed for human consumption), with some pork or beef off-cuts, largely of fat, and occasional packets of commercial dog  or cat food. The usual ration is no more than 3 kg.  All food is cooked (which is necessary because of the risk of avian influenza from chicken). However, with all food having been cooked and only pork or beef off-cuts to supplement the basic chicken diet, the tigers are at risk from malnutrition. Essential minerals, such as calcium and other nutrients, e.g. taurine, are also likely to be missing.  Malnutrition can result in blindness, muscle wastage, and skeletal deformity.  Some of the Temple’s tigers indeed suffer from poor eyesight and leg deformities. Cubs are removed from their mothers at between two weeks and two months of age (natural weaning occurs at 4 – 6 months) to be hand reared on human milk formula, which does not contain appropriate nutrients to insure for proper growth in tigers.

Tourist Display

Each day between 1pm and 4pm, an average of ten tigers are put on public display in the Temple’s ‘Tiger Canyon’ which, at the end of 2007, received 300 – 400 primarily foreign visitors a day. In early 2008 however, a volunteer estimated more than 880 visitors in a single day. Aside from touching and sitting on the tigers, being photographed with a tigers’ heads in your lap provides a chief attraction for visiting tourists. Tigers remain in the Canyon for about three hours. There is virtually no shade (except for what is provided to tourists) and temperatures can rise well above 40°C in the sun.

The tigers are led on a short leash from their cages to the Canyon by Temple staff. There, they are chained on fixed 3m – 5m chains, and heavy concrete bowls are against or set close to the tiger’s body to oblige the animal to adopt a good pose for the tourists and maintain it. Tigers are dragged into position by their tail and even punched or beaten to adopt particular postures that appeal to the tourists.

Temple staff stay close to the animals at all times to maintain control by use of tiger urine squirted from a bottle into the animal’s face. In the wild, tigers use urine as a territorial or aggressive signal: sprayed at close quarters it would represent an extremely aggressive gesture from a dominant animal.


Stereotypic behaviour (aimless movements such as head-weaving, chewing, or pacing, repeated many times without change) is common in animals whose natural behaviour is thwarted by inadequate, uninteresting accommodation, or by training or control. At the Temple, pacing and chewing paws is regularly and frequently seen both in the cages and during display. This is indicative of stress and frustration imposed by poor housing and improper handling.

Visitor Safety

The CWI investigation raises concerns about the safety of visitors to the Tiger Temple. There are numerous well-documented and sometimes fatal attacks on humans by ‘trained’ and apparently mild-mannered captive wild cats. These include attacks during photography sessions.  At the Temple, hundreds of visitors, some of them young children, are actively encouraged to make close physical contact with tigers during daily photo sessions. Staff fail to prevent direct contact with the animals even when tigers are behaving aggressively. Furthermore, staff and the Temple as a whole, are unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with potential emergencies. The Tiger Temple explicitly renounces any responsibility for injuries or damage, by asking visitors to sign a disclaimer at the entrance.


The tigers are poorly housed and badly maltreated to make them compliant and perform for visitors. Although the Tiger Temple may have begun as a rescue centre for tigers, it has become a breeding centre to produce and keep tigers solely for the tourists and therefore the Temple’s benefit. Illegal international trafficking helps to maintain the Temples’ captive tiger population. There is no possibility of the Temples’ breeding programme contributing to the conservation of the species in the wild.

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