Why I don’t want to visit the tiger temples in Thailand

Or any other animal temples!

I admit, I am very curious. Yes, I would like to pet the lions and tigers and especially their cubs, I won’t deny it.
But I don’t do it! And in my opinion, everyone should think twice before visiting such a place.
Because tigers have lost over 90% of their natural habitat. They are endangered and after 100 years of continuous decline, their number has recently increased by 22%, thanks to the major effort put in by different organizations. But still, there aren’t enough tigers on the planet! More info on that on the WWF site, where you can even “adopt a tiger”!
Because the animals are sedated, for the sake of visitors’ safety. Naturally, lions and tigers are not some fluffy, cute animals, who like to be pet by humans. They’re wild beasts, ferocious predators, if you stumble across one in the wild, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get close and pet it, so why do it at all?!
Cubs. Poor cubs are displayed and handled by hundreds of tourists every day, away from their mother from birth, so no wonder their metabolism and instincts are completely f***ed up! Which is why they will never adapt and survive in the wild, even if they are released. This is what tiger temples do. At least most of them. This is why we recommend you to do a serious investigation before stepping into one.

Money donations at tiger temples

I don’t think the money donated by tourists really helps the animals, so I’d rather donate to some of the organizations that try to protect endangered species and fights for animal rights, not to some center that sedates these beautiful creatures in order to make a profit.
I also read somewhere that a tiger cub should spend the first two years of his life alongside his mother, learning the necessary skills to survive in the wild. In these temples, cubs are taken away from their mother after as little as two weeks after being born. Which I think is very cruel!
Not only did we destroy their habitat, but we also keep the few we have left in captivity for fun, separating the cubs from their mothers and this needs to stop!
Tiger temples vs animal rescue centers
I don’t completely avoid places where animals are kept in captivity. For example, we visited the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala, Sri Lanka. Supposedly, the staff here takes good care of the elephants they rescue, making their lives better. Or so they say… I didn’t like the fact that some of the elephants were in chains, some even had wounds because of this.
But at least the ones that weren’t chained had enough room to roam freely and there was plenty of food around. I sincerely hope they really receive proper care and that the admission fee is put to good use, to the elephants’ benefit!
Anyway, this is something to consider when thinking about visiting a tiger temple! Are you willing to support this kind of animal abuse just to take some pictures with a drugged tiger?

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