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> Would you pet this tiger?
starlagurl
post Dec 28 2007, 09:54 AM
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Tourists in Thailand are flocking to this temple to have their pictures taken with a supposedly harmless tiger. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, another tiger escapes from the zoo and kills a man. How close is too close to such animals? Is this really what tourism is about?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/arti...in_page_id=1811

The savage death of an American by a runaway zoo tiger has failed to deter tourists from toying with danger at a "tiger temple" in Thailand.

As these dramatic pictures reveal, a peaceful "bonding with nature" moment between humans and wild animals can suddenly become life-threatening.

A large tiger following a monk through a quarry near the temple – unrestrained and seemingly as tame as a pet dog - suddenly roared and turned towards the crowd of onlookers, including backpacking Britons.


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sianeth
post Dec 28 2007, 10:15 AM
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I think I already did... oops.

It seemed like they were sedating them when we were there, although they insisted they weren't. The way one of the monks riled up one of the bears though, I'm not surprised the animals are retaliating!
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rbisset
post Dec 28 2007, 10:18 AM
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Umm I did as well.....

God I hate the Daily Mail! Sensationalist bollocks. I don't remember the fully grown tigers freely walking around, allowing people to "playfully tug a tiger's tail"! We were herded down where we could have our photo taken (for free, not 15) before they led the tigers away. They did have the tiger cubs running around, which to be honest was probably more dangerous than the adults!


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starlagurl
post Dec 28 2007, 10:22 AM
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Really, you weren't frightened?


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rbisset
post Dec 28 2007, 10:35 AM
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One of the cubs almost took my leg off so I kept my distance! Those monks have the reflexes of a kung fu master to stop the tigers injuring people.


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starlagurl
post Dec 28 2007, 10:38 AM
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Well, I don't know what to say, it reminds me of the "swim with dolphins" contrived tourist destinations. I really have a big problem with these types of attractions.


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wakingdream
post Dec 29 2007, 11:25 AM
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Harmless? I'd say drugged up is more like it. Tigers are not that docile. Not even close. Tigers are not meant to be "commanded". Look at Sigfried and Roy. It sucks what happened, but in the end that's nature, and we shouldn't bugger with it for our own amusement. The Tiger Temple breeds tigers, yet has NO intentions of releasing any back into the wild. They breed them to show to tourists only. There's something wrong with that.

Wouldn't go near them, wouldn't pay a dime to pet any animal on display and wouldn't do it for free either. Trust me, they're luring you there for a reason. maybe the photo is free, but I guarantee they have some antics up their sleeves.

This perpetuates the mistreatment of animals in countries such as Thailand where they're use to lure in tourists. They are often very malnourished, treated poorly and kept in inhumane conditions you would likely never know about.

Even if they are loved, wildlife sanctuaries and such and zoos (and even that's up for debate depending on which zoo) are the only places animals should be kept in captivity for the public to see and learn. Well-equipped facilities where they will be cared for properly.

Take a jungle trek or something. Visit one of the hundreds of wildlife sanctuaries (that save these tourist tout animals all the time) where you can get up close and personal with animals that are very well cared for. Stay away from the tricks. Don't feed monkey's tied up at restaurants. In fact, pay them no mind at all.

This is called "responsible tourism" Sorry to sound preachy, but I've dedicated a lot of my time in Thailand and other countries for just this kind of cause and am 100% against it. It's worth it to rant and rave.

It's actually a WAY bigger problem then some people might think. The tigers, though they may seem okay, are really no better off than any of the other privately captive animals you see around the country.

Cruel and very unnecessary. Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot more education before Thais realize they are not doing a good thing. Lack of education and poverty are two of the paramount reasons animals are used to make money. It's understandable yet it should not be supported. Ever see elephants in Bangkok? Case and point. Sure their owners love them, no doubt, or many anyway, but this is not a life for an elephant. Please don't ever pay to feed them. You should not pay to feed any animal unless you're making a donation to a responsible facility. This goes for countries all around the world.


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curt1591
post Dec 29 2007, 06:40 PM
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Maybe time for an avatar update?


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Paul
post Dec 30 2007, 09:13 AM
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Go for it Susie.

Agree (mainly - but get to that soon).

Firstly I think the tiger temple and the zoo attack are separate. Yeah, I suppose there is a chance a tiger at the tiger temple may attack you, but there is a chance you may die of old age too, so don't get too carried away with your fears. I suspect more people died from other humans killing them in USA that day than died from tiger attacks. (no need for a war on tigers)


I think the tiger "temple" and other such places are making fools of the tourists that go there to experience nature and they are making a cruel jail for the tigers and they are making a joke of Buddhism. I have been there twice. Once many years ago. At first I believed the stories, that these monks care for the tigers and that these animals were given to the temple and the monks collect money to help the tigers and even plan to rehabilitate some back to the wild. Maybe at one stage that was true???

Then I went again many years later. The entry fee had gone way up, huge tour buses were coming in and out and it was clear the "monk' (although I would refer to him as a businessman) was making a killing. Funnily enough, there were more tigers and their conditions were still just as dreadful as before. No money had been spent on the tigers and there is no effort to rehabilitate them. In fact in wouldn't surprise if hunters are paid to collect more from the forest. Even sadder, a while before that second trip, I had been speaking to the park rangers at Khao Yai National Park. Thailand's oldest National Park and one of the largest. They haven't seen any tigers there for years. It is highly likely that tigers are extinct in that park. Yet there is plenty in the Tiger "temple".


One point I disagree with Susie on, and I suspect she'll agree - is the way she has uses "Thais". It isn't all Thais that do these things. In fact there are many Thais that avoid even killing mosquitoes. Being a conservationist and standing up to the big businesses can be dangerous work in Thailand but there are many that do it. So I hope it is recognised that many Thais deeply love the environment and take care of animals. I think you'll find the treatment of animals in Thailand better than in any of the neighbouring countries. But, things are changing and money seems to be taking over from many of the old values, and people are living lives more separated from the natural world. so I fear things may be getting worse here. Therefore - please do not support these places. Please do visit and support the National Parks.

See ya
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wakingdream
post Dec 30 2007, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE
One point I disagree with Susie on, and I suspect she'll agree - is the way she has uses "Thais". It isn't all Thais that do these things. In fact there are many Thais that avoid even killing mosquitoes


Yup, totally agree Paul. I shouldn't have phrased it like that because it is not all Thais by any means. Many, many Thais have great compassion for animals and believe in protecting them as much as the next person. In fact, there are plenty of organizations in Thailand run by Nationals, with many local volunteers, who do a wonderful job in trying to change things in the current situation.

I also think a lot about the circumstances of animal welfare. My parents grew up in Europe in a time where dogs and cats, or any animals, never went into the house. They were fed what ever scraps were left over. No one worried about animal nutrition and slaughtering animals for food happened often. It was about being poor, and taking what you could to survive.

Not that that's the exact same as Thailand or anything, but I'm just trying to define a point about mentality. The level of concern for animal welfare differs all over the world for many, many reasons. We can't judge people who aren't educated, or who live a completely different way of life. I think all we can do is our best to make positive changes where we can and help people understand why certain things that may seem okay on the surface are really creating very negative affects.


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starlagurl
post Dec 31 2007, 11:19 AM
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Yeah, I don't really agree with the juxtaposition of the escaped tiger in San Francisco with these tigers in Thailand. I just thought it was interesting that the reporter thought the incidents were both important enough to put them together in the same story.

Have you guys ever done the swim with dolphins thing? Would you put that on the same level as these tiger displays?

I have never done either, they just seem too contrived for me to even pay attention.


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Paul
post Jan 1 2008, 10:13 AM
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If you got to swim with dolphins in a natural place or were lucky to be swimming when some came and they decided to swim with you, I reckon that'd be fantastic. but I am not sure what other options are available and what they are like.

I know dolphins at Monkey Mia in WA come to get fed. Sounds wonderful, but yeah, is it really yucky???
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starlagurl
post Jan 2 2008, 10:08 AM
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Well, my friends did it in the Bahamas while we were there and it wasn't yucky. They were lucky enough to come back with a colourful frame and photo yawn.gif


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wakingdream
post Jan 2 2008, 01:59 PM
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QUOTE
If you got to swim with dolphins in a natural place or were lucky to be swimming when some came and they decided to swim with you, I reckon that'd be fantastic.


Yeah Paul, I agree. This happened to me once, as a kid in St Petersburg Florida. It only lasted a few minutes and I have to say it scared the crap out of me! By the time I relaized what the hek was going on, they were gone! They came right up to us and swam around, poking their faces out and making those squeeky noises! I just wouldn't pay for it. It goes against my personal policy of exploiting animals for profit.


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katieontherun
post Feb 1 2008, 07:24 AM
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I've been to the Tiger Temple and I didnt' think it was dreadful. And I'm one of many who completely abhor zoos and dolphin swimming, since that's been brought up in this context as well. I do think it's a different story with these tigers.

Yes, the cages are small and the animals certainly don't have nearly enough space to roam anywhere near freely, but if they were free, they'd be butchered and chopped up and their parts shipped to China. Now THAT is dreadful. And note how many cubs there are every time. I've only been once but have spoken to lots of people who all said there were cubs around. These tigers wouldn't have cubs that survive if they weren't well taken care of and felt 'tiger' enough to reproduce. Also note how many species of animals live on the land and peacefully so. I think it's a very special place.

With the money tourists pay, the monks are establishing a large fenced-in area that will keep the tigers safe from poachers. Once that is done, there will also be no more tourist-tiger interaction like there is now b/c the tigers will remain in their enclosure. No more cages. There is going to be a viewing platform and there was talk of a part-glass wall so tourists can peek in, but that's it.

I've seen two reliable documentaries on this temple and the work the monks there do. The tigers aren't drugged. The monks might just have found a way to live with them with no damage done to either party and they do so to the best of their abilities and in order to keep Asian tigers from extinction.


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katieontherun
post Feb 1 2008, 07:28 AM
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QUOTE(wakingdream @ Jan 2 2008, 07:59 PM) *

QUOTE
If you got to swim with dolphins in a natural place or were lucky to be swimming when some came and they decided to swim with you, I reckon that'd be fantastic.


Yeah Paul, I agree. This happened to me once, as a kid in St Petersburg Florida. It only lasted a few minutes and I have to say it scared the crap out of me! By the time I relaized what the hek was going on, they were gone! They came right up to us and swam around, poking their faces out and making those squeeky noises! I just wouldn't pay for it. It goes against my personal policy of exploiting animals for profit.


I would never pay for dolphin swimming, either. A place where you could, if you owned or rented a boat, swim with them just about every day is Akaroa on the South Island of New Zealand near Christchurch. Bit out of the way, but if you ever think about venturing there, the hectors dolphins are about the most curious and friendliest breed. They are never fed or otherwise encouraged and they come very close to play. Akaroa is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and the water in the bay is calm, if freezing cold, and the dolphins are there nearly every day.


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katieontherun
post Feb 1 2008, 07:31 AM
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QUOTE(Paul @ Jan 1 2008, 04:13 PM) *

If you got to swim with dolphins in a natural place or were lucky to be swimming when some came and they decided to swim with you, I reckon that'd be fantastic. but I am not sure what other options are available and what they are like.

I know dolphins at Monkey Mia in WA come to get fed. Sounds wonderful, but yeah, is it really yucky???


Hi Paul, you can swim with dolphins in Akaroa, New Zealand, near Christchurch (South Island), as much as you like. The water is freezing but a wetsuit helps and the hectors dolphins are adorable. They are neither fed nor otherwise encouraged to approach boats and yet they do and in large numbers. They love to play and they come really close.


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starlagurl
post Feb 1 2008, 11:39 AM
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Interesting take on the subject, Katie. I'm a little divided on the issue now, but still, more in favour of not having a "tiger temple" at all.


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katieontherun
post Feb 3 2008, 11:27 AM
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QUOTE(starlagurl @ Feb 1 2008, 05:39 PM) *

Interesting take on the subject, Katie. I'm a little divided on the issue now, but still, more in favour of not having a "tiger temple" at all.


Hey,

I understand that, I was sceptical as well. But the fact alone that it seems to be either tiger temple or no tigers (it's gruesome how they are killed and how much Chinese "high animals" will pay for dead tigers-- more than any one man in Thailand can make in his entire life to support himself and all of his extended family!) 'had me convinced that it's the lesser of the two evils. I don't appreciate keeping animals captive.


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katieontherun
post Feb 3 2008, 11:40 AM
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QUOTE(Paul @ Feb 3 2008, 02:46 PM) *

QUOTE(katieontherun @ Feb 1 2008, 07:31 AM) *

QUOTE(Paul @ Jan 1 2008, 04:13 PM) *

If you got to swim with dolphins in a natural place or were lucky to be swimming when some came and they decided to swim with you, I reckon that'd be fantastic. but I am not sure what other options are available and what they are like.

I know dolphins at Monkey Mia in WA come to get fed. Sounds wonderful, but yeah, is it really yucky???


Hi Paul, you can swim with dolphins in Akaroa, New Zealand, near Christchurch (South Island), as much as you like. The water is freezing but a wetsuit helps and the hectors dolphins are adorable. They are neither fed nor otherwise encouraged to approach boats and yet they do and in large numbers. They love to play and they come really close.



Hey, can you add that into the NZ section somewhere. I reckon I will get to NZ in the next few years and that'd be great to do.

Re your comments on the tigers - I am still very much not convinced. I wouldn't believe the "reliable" documentaries. In fact i wouldn't believe anything on the idiot box - it is usually paid for by someone. The monks building a fenced in whatever - hmmm, perhaps they should check out the concepts of national parks. Anyway. Gota go - hope you are well.


Hi Paul,

Well, it's actually not just the telly. I've previously worked in conservation before, in New Zealand (birds) and in Croatia (dolphins) and in South Africa (all sorts of wildlife), s. my blogs. I'm in no way an expert, but I do have some first-hand experience.

Thailand is in fact full of National Parks that are being raided by poachers. The parks are large and not fenced-in and park rangers are easy to bribe because there is so much money to be made in the poaching "trade". It is gruesome to see what is done to tigers (some are cut up alive) and absolutely perverted to hear what some rich Chinese will pay for tigers (and also bears from Russia): one tiger is worth more than one man can make in his entire life to support himself and all of his extended family.

A very comprehensive and heartbreakingly truthful page you may want to check out is www.enkosini.com where you can learn some more about such projects that are dedicated to saving orphans whose mothers were killed by poachers and wounded animals that got away with their lives and about those who fight to keep animals away from the brink of extinction. Check out the section on what happens in national parks in South Africa and how canned hunting works, it's an eye-opening page. Lots of links there, too, if you're interested.


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