Almost everyone who visits Bangkok ends up going to Tiger Temple and most people aren’t entirely sure how they feel about it. On the one hand you get to pet a tiger and who doesn’t want to pet a tiger? But on the other hand, they are wild animals. They shouldn’t be kept in captivity and it’s heart breaking to see them with chains around their necks.
We’d heard rumours that the tigers were drugged to make them so placid so we got chatting to an American volunteer to see what she had to say.
The volunteer had been working at Tiger Temple for 6 weeks and insisted that the tigers weren’t drugged. She said that they’ve all been hand reared so they’re used to human contact. Every morning the tigers are tired out by being forced to work hard to get their food like they would in the wild. Also, it’s in their nature to snooze all afternoon while it’s so hot and that’s why they’re so sleepy. I was a little bit weary however when we had to sign a form saying we wouldn’t sue if we were injured or killed by the tigers.
She also said that the monks who run the sanctuary are in the process of raising money for a nature reserve in the hope that they could eventually be released. At the moment, if the tigers were released into the wild they would be instantly killed by poachers. It’s a catch-22 situation because they can’t be released but while they’re being raised by hand here’s no chance they’d survive in the wild anyway.
I decided to put my morals behind me and simply enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity of petting a tiger.
We also did some celebrity spotting and saw Stacy Slater from Eastenders here. I tried to be really cool and act like I didn’t care and didn’t want to stare at her. She was having a hissy fit because her battery had gone dead on her camera and she couldn’t have any pictures.