Help the tigers
We have a selection of photographs for your enjoyment at
The forest monastery of Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno, known internationally as Tiger Temple , was built in 1994 after a Buddhist woman donated 275 acres of land for the project – its objectives were to propogate Buddhism and to conserve forests and wildlife.
It started as a temple and meditation centre, run by today's abbot, Pra Acharn Phusit (Chan), and it was named after Abbot Phusit's teacher, a highly respected and well-known meditation guru.
Abbot Phusit's love of animals soon led to many wild creatures using the monastery for shelter and food – and when the first tiger cub arrived, he took her in.
The cub's heartbreaking story of cruelty is not unusual in tigers any more than it is in the way that people treat all animals. Her mother was killed by poachers near the Thai-Burma border when she was a few months old and she was sold to a wealthy Bangkok resident who ordered her stuffed.
“A local hired to do the job botched it,” says one of the temple's leaflets. “Although he injected her with the preservative formalin (and made incisions in her stomach) the cub survived.”
At the temple, her human carers were joined by a surrogate mother ... a dog. But her life was cut short by heart palpitations and she was buried under the monastery's auspicious Bodhi tree at the age of just seven months.
Then, several weeks later, two more cubs were taken to the monastery. They were a week old and the monks called them Phayu (Storm) and Saifa (Lightning). Their mother had been killed by poachers ... they, and the tigers that followed, can be seen at the monastery today.
The monks who started the work have been supplemented by village helpers – and volunteers drawn from worldwide. (If you want to volunteer, see details at www.walkingwithtigers.org).
And the number of animals seeking the peacefulness of the monastery has grown immensely in number and variety. Birds, wild boar, horses, deer and many more species either live there or visit nightly for the food given to them by the monks.
The tiger population keeps growing, both through rescue and through cubs being born to those at the monastery.
Their needs dominate the day, from the cubs being taken everywhere as they play and grow, to the grown cats being walked on leads along to Tiger Canyon for exercise and to meet visitors to the monastery - the photograph above shows Abbot Phusit and a helper arriving with a tiger at where visitors congregate, and the photograph above that shows Abbot Phusit taking his tiger down to Tiger Canyon.
Generosity by Buddhists has taken the care of most of the costs, but the rising food bill and the plans for a moated tiger sanctuary have left a huge shortfall in money – and some of that is being provided by tourists visiting the monastery to meet the tigers.
For those visitors, the experience is stunning, and the cost of a less than 500 bahts is small. But for the tigers and other animals, those bahts mean they are fed and get the attention of a vet – in other words, it helps them to survive.
You can easily get to the temple, which is near Kanchanaburi. If you do, you will never forget it.
*The quotation in the heading comes from a booklet given to visitors to explain the monastery and its animals.
'Softened and cooled down ... even a tiger senses tenderness'
|Tiger Temple visit - article|
|Tiger section front page|
|Tiger Temple website|
|Walking with Tigers|
|Tigers in SE Asia|
|'Our amazing week at Tiger Temple'|
|Search & Rescue|