Thailand’s tiger temple suspected of religious wildlife crime

This video says about itself:

Thailand’s Controversial Tiger-Taming Temple

7 January 2013

Taming the Tigers (2013): Thailand’s Tiger Temple is one of the country’s best-known tourist attractions. Yet marketed as a sanctuary to help conserve an endangered species, activists claim it has a history of exploitation and abuse.

“If you’re selling animal exploitation as a conservation project, then I have a serious concern,” states Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. There’s something undeniably mysterious and majestic about tigers, even in captivity. But while tourists are told the temple is a sanctuary for rescued animals, conservationist and animal rights activist, Sybelle Foxcroft, claims they are treated appallingly. “I personally saw sticks being broken across tigers‘ backs.” The temple claims “assertive treatment” is the only way to train these powerful animals. In stark contrast, Foxcroft describes it as “probably one of the most horrific things I’ve ever seen.”

Reuters reports:

Thailand’s famous Tiger Temple raided for suspected wildlife trafficking

February 5, 2015

BANGKOK — Thai officials have raided a Buddhist temple that is home to more than 100 tigers and are investigating suspected links to wildlife trafficking, authorities said today (Feb 5).

Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, or Tiger Temple, in Thailand’s western Kanchanaburi province, is popular with tourists who pet, cuddle and pose for selfies with the big cats.

The temple has been dogged for years by talk of links to wildlife trafficking and its maltreatment of tigers.

A Thai official said at least 100 tigers had been impounded in raids this week and were being kept at the temple until authorities wind up their investigations. Thirty-eight hornbills, a bird species, were also seized.

“We’re checking if the temple had official permits to keep them,” said Mr Cherdchai Charipanya, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in the province of Ratchaburi.

The temple bills itself as an animal sanctuary and tiger-breeding facility, and its abbot has denied animal cruelty and illegal trafficking.

Thailand is one of the world’s biggest hubs for wildlife trafficking. In recent years, the country has tried to shed its reputation as a source and destination for exotic meat and rare pets. But demand from China, including for tiger parts and ivory tusks, has fuelled a thriving trade in illicit wildlife.

Conservationists must try to reduce demand for tiger parts in China to save the animals, wildlife experts warned at an anti-poaching conference in Nepal this week.

In 2013, Thailand’s then premier, Yingluck Shinawatra, pledged to outlaw any kind of ivory trade but there has been little progress. Yingluck was forced from office in May.

Ms Kanitha Krishnasamy, programme manager for Southeast Asia at TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, urged authorities to look into the origin of the seized hornbills and tigers and to pursue legal action.

“We hope the investigations don’t end with the seizure of wildlife, but results in legal action and a deterrent punishment for offenders,” said Ms Krishnasamy.

With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’: here.

Thai business magnate charged after being caught poaching animals in protected wildlife sanctuary. Police arrest Premchai Karnasuta and three other suspects after finding group with rifles and hunting gear: here.

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