Picture used to promote a tour of Tiger Temple. Spot the mistake!
Yes, you’re right. The baby is not yet actually in the tiger’s mouth

Officers of the Department of National Parks were still moving animals out of Wat Pha Luang Tu Bua in Kanchanaburi, best known as the ‘Tiger Temple’, today after finally acting against what has been one of Thailand’s most famous but most shameful supposed animal sanctuaries.

The move by the DNP is being congratulated widely in particularly by the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand, whose boss Edwin Wiek said today: “On behalf of several animal NGO’s I have called the head of the DNP enforcement to speak out in favour and support of the action the DNP currently is taking. The tiger temple has been involved in illegal wildlife trade for years and has to be stopped.”

I presume tourists bring their own!

The abbot and monks of the temple were working what quite clearly was an avaricious money making business charging tourists for entrance, and for posing for pictures with the tigers contained there.

DNP officials took away over 100 tigers and 38 hornbills. The hornbills are along with tigers a protected species. Anybody handling them must have a permit.

Initially the ‘Tiger Temple’ had a feel-good image and the media was quick to latch on to the fact that devout Buddhist monks were helping preserve the tiger.  Cute pictures of tiger cubs appeared in the media all over the world – and Mailonline – the internet London Daily Mail would use a picture almost whenever offered.

A Google search of Tiger Temple and Daily Mail

It recently ran a whole series of tigers playing in the sanctuary quoting the photographer as saying he thought they treated well. Mailonline did however admit in a throw-away line that the temple was ‘controversial’.

But there was nothing right about the temple; nothing right about the treatment of the animals; nothing right about how the animals were bought and sold; nothing right about how they were fed; nothing right about how tourists were allowed to pose with the animals for a fee;  and nothing Buddhist about the operation. It was big business.

Basil Brush? No,  a Golden Asiatic Jackel – Picture WFFT

Currently two Golden Asiatic Jackals have gone missing, not wolves as earlier reported, in a clear attempt to avoid the law.

The monks and staff are also reported to have had little patience with DNP officials and have been insulting.

But in the wild life business there is a general sigh of relief.  Foreign wild life officials remain concerned.

A coalition of 39 conservation groups, including the Humane Society International, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, World Animal Protection, and the World Wide Fund for Nature, had written to the director general of National Parks in Thailand under the name ‘The International Tiger Coalition.’

They had expressed particular concern over lack of controls at the temple and the trade in tigers with contacts in Laos.

They still fear that if the situation is not watched closely, a settlement could end in the re-opening of the tiger business quietly in a few months’ time.


  1. There have been many reports of tourists being mauled at this 'temple' and yet they were allowed to continue to operate no doubt because they were paying the required 'tea money'. As for the first photo of the man with his daughter what sort of idiot would place a child in such danger?

    1. I agree. "Tea money" is the problem and it goes to very high levels. It did not suit the Abhisit or Shiniwatra governments to do anything that stops the gravy train that is endemic in the culture. In a military led government one would be naive to think the NPD is cleaning up this practice by its own volition. Currently, it's the military government that's calling the shots. And in this case doing something positive. It won't stop completely of course and blind eyes are, wrongly but pragmatically I think, being turned elsewhere (q.v.the gaw tao murders)

    2. Whether the militarygovt had something to do with this or not Matt – this might be about the time to remove the rose-tinted specs as to what it is actually doing. Removing corruption and replacing it with new corruption is not taking the country forward.

    3. I don't need to remove any rose tinted glasses. Didn't you notice my comment "It won't stop completely of course and blind eyes are, wrongly but pragmatically I think, being turned elsewhere (q.v.the Gaw Tao murders). I emphasise again that I said the Gaw Tao reaction was wrong. That's hardly rose tinted it?, Though i agree people get frustrated when they read travel bloggers who see only the rosy side of Thailand). Prayuth has not taken on all the elite and mafia and I doubt he will ever eradicate the most extreme corruption. There are reasons for that and I'm sure you agree that neither political party ever had the courage or balls or inclination to do anything. Forcing the NPD to act is at least something positive given that history. I don't like much of what is going on but I'm not prepared to say everything is going pear shaped. It may all turn out badly but to assume the worst at this stage is not looking at the facts as they present themselves. Put bluntly, the military control the NPD as they control a lot of other agencies. To suggest the military were not involved is, with respect, naive and I'm surprised at your view. But you're entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. You at least report dissenting views on your blog. I wish Thaivisa and the foreign media did the same and as you put it, take over their rose tinted spectacles. That's the real problem.


  2. It's like any business operation here: unless there is someone with integrity involved in its management it will exploit its market mercilessly and without any consideration other than the profit motive. Morality, sound ethics, humanity, health and safety, all are subordinated to the desire for money. Material wealth is the only cultural marker valued in this shameful, hypocritical place. That Buddhist monks are no different in many temples up and down the breadth of the country comes as no surprise to anyone living here.

  3. I don't know about anybody else but I rarely go to temples, have nothing to do with monks and have little faith in the integrity of most of them. All I ever see is fear peddling, nonsense about black magic, the flogging of amulets and rituals for sale. Then there is sak yant with people tattooing a mandala or image with some misguided belief it will help them in some way.

    I always tell people if you want to get rich you just do two things. Spread fear then offer hope. Hope selling is the world's biggest industry with religion its biggest perpetrator. Then there's the get rich brigade which has everybody from financial advisor's to fortune tellers. Hope is a big seller.

    At the bottom of the pile are the bottom feeders like Goudie and Noyes flogging the hope they can help you with your legal problem. We've all seen where that has left people. Penniless or homeless.

    1. They'll end up being flogged off to rich Chinese. Every Chinese man thinks eating tiger bones and meat will turn you from a 5'2" flabby sponge cake into a muscle bound UFC like warrior. Eating tiger penis will turn that shrimp in your pants into a 7 inch home wrecker. They see tigers in terms of a meal, a rug or some form of herbal big dick juice. There isn't much wildlife left in China- they've eaten it all.

    2. Well the facts are the facts.

      Have you forgotten the Chiang Mai Night Safari already? Let me remind everybody.

      "Chiang Mai’s Night Safari project director Plodprasop Suraswadi said yesterday visitors to the park’s Vareekunchorn restaurant will have the option of tucking in to an “Exotic Buffet” of tiger, lion, elephant and giraffe, for just Bt4,500 a head." “The zoo will be outstanding, with several restaurants offering visitors the chance to experience exotic foods such as imported horse, kangaroo, giraffe, snake, elephant, tiger and lion meat."

      So this dude was inviting people to visit the zoo, admire the animals, then sit down and eat some of them. Now this was aimed directly at the Chinese and Korean markets.

      Then there was the case of the tigers being exported to China from Thailand that ended up being eaten. They were supposed to go to zoos and wildlife parks but ended up on the dinner table. The poor cannot afford the prices these exotic animals cost. It's a rich man's game.

  4. No one has asked the obvious question. Who instructed the DNP to act after all these years. It certainly wasn't their idea and a change of heart, was it? Taksin, Abhisit, Yingluck did nothing. The government is acting now though, however inconvenient it is for the foreign media to accept it.

    And we must remember that this evil business is fueled by tourist demand. I've not seen Thais going into tiger enclosures.

  5. Well, if you believe the Bangkok Post as of their story today the Tiger Temple remains open. Begs the questions as to who reported these animals being moved out and shutting this down?

Comments are closed.