The Tiger Temple is a popular tourist attraction, but it has attracted controversy ever since the first abandoned tiger cub was taken to the temple. Thai temples often become homes for unwanted or stray animals, notably dogs, but the temple of Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno has become home to a number of tigers since the first abandoned tiger cub was taken in by the abbot of the wat in 1999.
Cruel or Not?
The Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi has faced numerous allegations that the tigers are sedated and claws and teeth are removed to ensure they are docile for the tourists who visit the temple. I have to admit that I’ve not yet visited the Tiger Temple so I can’t write from first hand experience. I offer some links here which may go some way in helping you to decide whether it’s a good idea to visit there or not. The photos accompanying this article come from two different sites dedicated to the temple.
This article was written in 2007. Karen and Alan Earp no longer maintain the website mentioned further below which is why I’ve deleted those references and links. In May 2015, I wrote an updated report on the latest investigations and developments at the Tiger Temple.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Tiger Temple’s own website answers a number of frequently asked questions. Not surprisingly, they try to project a good image indicating that the temple is an important conservation and breeding project. Another Tiger Temple website has been written by a British couple, Karen and Alan Earp, who actually did voluntary work at the tiger sanctuary and are in a better position than most to offer comment. Karen Earp has worked with the RSPCA (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in Britain and refutes suggestions that the tigers are in anyway drugged or mistreated. The website is an excellent read and offers some very interesting information about the work at the sanctuary. There are also some revealing insights into daily life and living conditions for the monks and the tigers.