Infamous 'Tiger Temple' Set To Re-Open - Boycott This Cruel, Counterfeit 'Sanctuary'

Infamous 'Tiger Temple' Set To Re-Open - Boycott This Cruel, Counterfeit 'Sanctuary'

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on Apr 21, 2017

Tourism and animal exploitation can, at times, go tragically hand in hand. From elephant-back riding activities to the unfair imprisonment of orcas at Sea World, there have been an alarming number of instances of human beings crossing the line for animal interaction. Many of these instances have been documented with extreme scrutiny, with few ‘tourist activities’ gaining as much negative press as Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple. Despite the so-called ‘sanctuary’ being shut down in June 2016, it appears that the temple’s demise may not have been so permanent after all.

Dubbed ‘Golden Temple’, a brand-new tiger ‘zoo’ is set to open in Kanchanaburi Province, directly next door to its ill-fated predecessor. Disturbingly, it seems as if this new ‘zoo’ will be run by the same company as before, with ‘the Tiger Temple Co’ even re-branding themselves with a name change, made on the 3rd of February this year (the company is now known as ‘Golden Tiger Co.’) It is evident that no remorse has been felt by these awful individuals, and that no amount of negative press has deterred them from re-building their monstrous enterprise.

Shortly before Tiger Temple’s closure last summer, a raid of the property resulted in dozens of tiger body parts being recovered by police: around 40 big cats were found frozen and buried beneath the temple, as well as 20 baby tigers discovered floating in jars of formaldehyde. Even before this harrowing revelation, it was a well-known fact that the tigers at the ‘sanctuary’ were severely mistreated, as the alleged ‘monks’ working at the property would sedate the tigers with drugs, forcing them to be drowsy and compliant enough to be used in tourist activities (such as ‘photo opportunities’ alongside irresponsible revellers.) That animal lovers had a distaste for Tiger Temple is an understatement; however, as more people became aware of the mistreatment of tigers here, it was only a matter of time that an undercurrent of anger would bubble over into something much bigger. The temple was boycotted; major outlets (such as Trip Advisor) refused to play a role in the promotion of such ‘tourist activities’; and eventually Thai authorities forced an eventual closure.

So why is it that Tiger Temple (or rather, Golden Temple) has been able to return? And furthermore, how could they be so brazen with their lack of shame? A quick glance at the still-running Tiger Temple website shows that that the company has no shame in advertising a re-birth of the business, offering special offers, discounts, and even free elephant-back rides for anybody that books their place on the grand reopening, set for the 1st of May. In fact, the controversy surrounding Tiger Temple seems to have done little to squash Golden Tiger Co’s efforts to re-launch, with their website and social media pages being frequently updated with statuses and photographs depicting similar activities as before (visitors can be seen squeezing young leopards to their bodies, as well as posing as before with dazed-looking tigers.) They even seem to have support from local tourist boards, who are selling tickets for a plethora of events and activities with animal mistreatment at their core.

Whether the Golden Temple will be able to survive another round, remains to be seen. But it is abundantly clear that the past has taught these people nothing – we can only hope the public are wiser, boycotting the ‘temple’ and disallowing its future.

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UPDATE - JULY 2017

We are saddened to report that the aforementioned location is still open, still with its licence and, shockingly, still taking bookings. Since this article was originally written (21st April, 2017), Golden Tiger Co.'s website has undergone some changes, including an improved aesthetic appearance and even an online consultant to take bookings. These changes may make the tour more tempting to those who stumble across the website, but we must continue to spread the work about this egregious company. Furthermore, the website flaunts a badge displaying the '2015 traveller's choice' award given by Tripadvisor - it is common knowledge that Tripadvisor no longer support or sell tickets for tours that involve the mistreatment of animals, and therefore this badge should surely be revoked (On this note, while Tripadvisor no longer sell tickets for Tiger Temple, it is still being publicly shown and reviewed on their website, with plenty of accompanying and distressing images.)

It is beyond troubling that Golden Tiger Co. (and their many incarnations) have not only managed to obtain their licence, but are able to flourish and actively advertise these 'experiences' with seemingly minimal repercussion. Despite being one of the most infamous and frowned-upon operators of recent years, the pressure to stop to Golden Tiger Co. still falls short, and we must push to put an end to their inhumane activities.


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Deborah's Profile Picture
Deborah commented 8 months ago
How can we stop this happening?!!

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