Friday, 1 October 2010

Tigers in peril

Day 11 - A picture of your favorite drink

Yes I know, Bloody Marys are supposed to be a hangover cure, but seriously I love 'em (obviously I go for the Vegan version).

I have an adopted Elephant at Tsavo National Park through Care for the Wild International, his name is Kamboyo and he's actually the second Elephant I've adopted through them (The first was called Burra and he was featured on Elephant Diaries" with Michealla Strachen! He's living out in the wild now :) ).
Anyway, every six months  get a update letter and sometimes a general booklet about Care for the Wild International's work.
This time there was one of those booklets, and I was horrorfied to find out about the dodgy dealings at somewhere I had always wanted to visit.
I had always thought that The Tiger Temple in Thailand was a place where orphaned tigers were looked after all of their lives, and that the long term plan was to eventually start releasing tigers into the wild when the local Buddhist Monks deemed the area free of poachers and safe for the tigers.
I knew that it was a bit of a tourist spot, and that it was possible to hand feed some of the tigers (I had read had a lot of the tigers were abandoned when the Thai laws on keeping tigers as pets had changed, so I naturally assumed that the ones visitors could hand feed were these ones.
According to Care for the Wild International there is "illegal trade, animal cruelty and tourists at risk at the Tiger Temple".
They found that tigers were being taken away and then replaced with different tigers given the same names, so that it would appear that they were the same tigers (though a tigers stripes are as different from each other as a humans fingerprints), the tigers are often kept in ridiculously small cages and the tigers are now forced to perform for tourists like circus animals.
This has greatly saddened me, and I have removed The Tiger Temple from places to visit before die. I hope that anybody reading this would also reconsider visiting in the future.
One of the saddest parts of all this is that I can't help thinking, what would Buddha himself make of all this? I am sure he wouldn't approve of his followers doing such things.

Care for the Wild International can be found here
If you are interested in adopting an animal and helping towards the costs of it's care there are instructions on how to do so on the website.

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