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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

86 of rescued Thai Tigers die at Govt care centre !! in Thailand

The Indochinese tiger is a Pantheratigristigris population in Southeast Asia.  Theravāda  is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest extant school. Modern Theravāda derives from the Mahāvihāra sect, a Sri Lankan branch of the Vibhajjavādins, a sub-sect of the Indian Sthavira Nikaya, which began to establish itself on the island from the 3rd century BCE onwards.

It did not happen overnight ~ pressure was building with the hype created by the foreign media who hyperactivated news that things are not aright .. and then more than 500 officers from Thailand’s Department of National Parks (DNP) swooped on the Tiger Temple, in the town of Kanchanaburi, a couple of hours’ drive west of Bangkok, on May 30, 2016 stating  allegations of illegal breeding and trafficking in the endangered cats.

It was a Buddhist place of worship ~ known for its calmness. The temple’s abbot vigorously denied any impropriety. But a total of 147 live tigers were confiscated.. .. .. and the   Tiger Temple had to be  shut down. It clearly demonstrated what a focussed media attack can do – first they congregated calling it a controversial house.  Founded in 1992, Wat PhaLuang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, as it was officially known, received its first cub in 1999. Buddhist temples have traditionally been places to take injured and abandoned animals. But Kanchanaburi became famous because it was the only place where visitors could see orange-robed monks and big cats living together in what appeared to be harmony. The Tiger Temple was essentially a theme park, sprawling over 60 acres, with Tiger Island occupying 5 acres in the middle. Hundreds of deer, boar and cows roamed the outer scrub, along with gangs of civet cats, ponies and peafowl. The tigers were mostly confined to individual concrete cells, although they had the run of larger enclosures on a rotating basis. Every afternoon, a few were led on chain leashes to “the Canyon” — an artificial habitat complete with rocky cliff face and pond — for pictures with tourists.

Reportedly, in Thailand, all tigers technically belong to the government, but private owners are permitted to keep tigers, and breeding and using them for commercial purposes is legal with a zoo license.  There are hundreds of  captive tigers  reared at various places.  Thai DNP officers  chose to strike at   Wat PhaLuang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, accusing that monks were illegally breeding and trafficking endangered animals.

Logically as the tourists grew, the space for Tigers and animals shrunk and there were more younger ones, which were the natural choice of visiting tourists to get closer and take ‘selfies’.  It was also claimed that they had kept some dead  tiger cubsin the freezer for legitimate reasons, they say, as the temple’s former vet insisted that they keep deceased cubs — a litter’s natural mortality rate can push 40% — to prove they were not being trafficked.

Whoever is right, there was something about the Tiger Temple that didn’t sit easily with Buddhism — not even Thailand’s brazenly commercial brand of it. It was hard to square the principle of ahimsa — “do no harm” — with the feeding $15,000 of farmed poultry to wild animals each week, not to mention coaxing the revenue from tourists. Each day, hundreds of visitors paid entry fees and more for cuddling a  tiger cub.  The economies of operations were getting messier ~ to maintain the cubs, to pay for food and vet bills and full time staff, the Tiger temple did need tourists to come and part with money.

Increasingly visitors wanted to take photos with cute, tiny cubs. That meant breeding more of them, since cubs become unbridled adolescents when they reach the age of 6 months. From that age, impetuous and unaware of their own strength, they can be very dangerous. So whether the abbot was really making money from the venture was always a big Q !  - those volunteers and supporters cried hoarse that the abbot was unfairly marred and targeted.

~ and they were not without reason ..  if the purpose was to save the tigers and not allow private display – what followed was really worser.  Some media highlighted that immediately after the raids,  three months after the raid, the temple’s tigers were  in a worser state. Robbed of distractions, toys and space to prowl, several sported facial wounds from bashing their heads against the bars of their tiny government enclosures, where they spent 24 hours a day. One died too.  Perhaps the measure of confiscating all tigers was in a rush, without any proper plans for keeping the tigers and rehabilitating them.   Curiously, after the raids too,  one large cat remained at the temple: a lion, called Petchy, who still roams his own leafy enclosure. The foliage so thick that the only clues to his continued existence are a ripped up toys left for him daily — and the occasional roar from deep in the undergrowth.

So after that botched operation, 147 tigers were taken over by the Govt and   taken to two breeding stations in nearby Ratchaburi province but not many have survived !  ~ not admitting that deaths have occurred whilst in their custody for over 3 years now, the Dept tries to state that deaths could be linked to inbreeding !“Most of the tigers were already in a distressed state stemming from the transportation and change of location … later their health problems emerged,” said another department official.

Conservationists question whether authorities had looked after the seized animals appropriately, with small, cramped cages enabling the spread of disease.Conditions at the enclosures were “not good enough to house so many tigers and the setup was wrong”, they added.Three years after 147 tigers were seized from the Tiger Temple in Thailand, government officials are reporting that 86 of the rescued animals have died. The official cause of death, according to the Thai government, was a viral disease exacerbated by inbreeding of the big cats.

The tigers did live well and attracted hundreds of tourists adding revenue to the Nation, but  a National Geographic expose and work by the Australian conservation nonprofit Cee4Life alleged controversial practices, including alleged animal abuse and speed breeding of the big cats to supply tiger body parts for illegal trade.With pressure building up, Govt acted in haste without really being prepared for it ! raiding on the abbot taking away 147 tigers – of which 86 have died whilst being provided care at Govt custody.. 

So what would the authorities, and the Press which campaigned for the safety of tigers say now ! ~ were they right in vociferously campaigning removal of big cats, only to lead to their deaths probably due to negligence, lack of space and care. Opinions would naturally be divergent ! ~ not good for the big cats.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Sept. 2019.

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