IN shocking discoveries last week, Thai wildlife authorities uncovered 70 dead tiger cubs at the infamous ‘Tiger Temple’.
The temple, a popular tourist site, has been closed to the public since May 30, when the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) began an operation to remove the tigers following claims of illegal smuggling.
Confiscation of the tigers is seen by most wildlife groups as a positive step to protect these animals from the inherent cruelty involved in wildlife tourism. Only removal of the tigers will stop their exploitation and ensure that no further tigers will be bred for profit at the venue, they say.
Groups say the breeding of tigers under these conditions serves no conservation benefit, as they are bred in cruel confinement purely for profit. It’s a far cry from a natural life in the wild.
Suphaporn Last, director of World Animal Protection Thailand, said: “We are shocked to the core to hear media reports that the 70 dead cubs were to be smuggled overseas for the trade in traditional medicine. The lucrative business of cruelly exploiting tigers for profit must be put to an end.
“While we congratulate the DNP [Department of National Parks] for taking this definitive action to confiscate the tigers, we strongly urge them to thoroughly investigate the tragic deaths of these cubs.
“This must be a turning point for the tigers. The confiscated tigers must not be sold back to the entertainment industry. We call on the DNP to ensure that these tigers are moved to a government or affiliated sanctuary operating to the highest possible welfare standards.
“We are also calling for investigations into all other tiger entertainment venues. Investigations like this could shed light on illegal wildlife trade and help to uncover the hidden cruelty at other tiger-themed tourist attractions across Thailand.”
To put an end to exploitation of tigers, his group is urging the public to support the DNP’s action to confiscate the tigers – and check other venues in Thailand.
“Please add your voice to the call for the DNP to thoroughly investigate the deaths of the tiger cubs and all other tiger entertainment venues to stop this cruelty. Sign our petition today.”
It can be seen at the group’s website www.worldanimalprotection.or.th