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Tiger Temple raid opens door to positive changes

Jun 21. 2016
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Sybelle Foxcroft is the founder of Conservation and Environmental Education 4 Life (Cee4life), an Australia-based non-profit whose investigative report on Kanchanaburi’s “Tiger Temple” led to the recent raid.
Cee4life had presented the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) in Thailand with two reports documenting overwhelming evidence that the temple was trading in tiger body parts.
Edwin Wiek, founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, had attempted to discredit Foxcroft before eventually relenting and focusing his energy on tiger conservation. The focus now must be on the tigers and the continuation of what Foxcroft has devoted her heart and life to for the past decade. 
Why did she have to waste precious energy defending her report against a small group of people who had missed the point – the report was what convinced the police and the DNP to finally take action. The Tiger Temple has finally been irrevocably exposed for the hellish, corrupt, abusive and disgusting place that many of us knew was hiding behind the monk’s protective robes.
This story has huge repercussions for wildlife facilities and corrupt temples throughout Thailand. Tiger Kingdom, another tourist attraction, should also be closed. Sriracha Zoo is under scrutiny. It takes immense courage to expose these crimes and vision to find a solution that helps protect both the tigers and their environment.
Thailand closed parts of the Similan Islands more than a decade ago to “protect” a few areas, but there is evidence that the closure of these reefs was not to protect them but rather to exploit them and destroy them. 
I am Thai and proud of Thailand, but I am not proud of the rampant devastation I have witnessed in recent decades. 
What are Thai values? 
We enforce no-smoking laws but do not enforce laws to prevent child slavery and prostitution. 
We enforce laws on banning the sale of alcohol at certain hours of the day, but if you want to buy tiger parts or breed them like pigs and sell the parts to China, “No problem.” 
I am sick to my heart that Thailand has a reputation for everything here being for sale. 
Sybelle, I support you – because we need more people willing to stand up and speak out to defend the defenceless.

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