When we were in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, the “Tiger Temple” caught our eye. The Tiger Temple is a complex where monks live and care for animals that have been hurt, mistreated, or abandoned. The animal they focus on are tigers. They have almost 100 tigers and 200 other animals. The tigers have all come from the wild, come from a bad owner that mistreated them or were born on the temple grounds. Some came from the protection centre.
When we went there, we bought a ticket and went inside. On our way to go see the tigers, we saw many of the other animals. Some of the animals were ordinary and some I had never seen before. I thought it was cool that they had all these different animals living together. Some had to be in cages though because they were dangerous or threatened the other animals. These were the animals that I saw:
- wild boar
- water buffalo
- colourful birds
These were some of the animals that had been rescued. My favourite one of the list above was the exotic birds. They were so colourful. Some of them had these feathers that stuck up on top of their bill. Others had a hump on the top of their head that looked really weird.
I didn’t get to see the lions. That was ok. I heard that you can only see them from above because they are in a canyon. They are kept in a canyon because they are very dangerous. They found them in Bangkok where their owner was training them to be guard dogs, so they don’t like people. They have about six lions.
While I was there, I learnt some interesting things about tigers. The first thing I learnt was that tigers have course fur. They look like they have smooth fur but they don’t. One thing I found really sad was that there are more tigers as pets in the U.S. (not including safaris, zoos, and other animal shelters) then there are in the wild around the world.
I also learnt that you can get a white tiger by breeding a brother with a sister. Breeding white tigers does nothing to help the tiger population, because white tigers only live for a couple of years. A normal orange tiger lives up to 20 years.
The tigers in the temple complex eat 4-5 cooked chickens a day. They are fed chicken because you are not allowed to kill anything in the temple grounds. Chickenis the only thing they can get in the amount they need from outside the temple grounds. They have the chicken cooked because of an outburst of the bird flu in 2009. It made lots of animals sick.
One thing I found really cool was this one tiger who is 14 years old in human years. He is a movie star. He’s been in some movies and music videos. Some rockstars and famous people have flown to the rescue centre just to take pictures with this tiger.
The first place we saw tigers was this area where some tigers were laying and you were aloud to pet them. For the big tigers, you knelt down behind them and patted them on the back. The person who was taking care of the tiger would take a picture. On the smaller ones you would lie down next to the tiger and pat him or her gently. While we were there, a baby tiger was getting walked around. He was so cute and small. Its amazing how much they grow in such a short time.
We then waited for a couple minutes so we could walk the tigers down into a canyon. We were in the first group. We got in a single file line and started walking at the tigers pace. Every minute or so we would switch and the next person would get to walk the tiger. They were taking our picture while we walked the tigers. The tigers walked very slowly down into the canyon. We waited for all the tigers to come into the canyon then we left.
I really enjoyed the experience of seeing the tigers. I was amazed that they acted so calm without being drugged. I would like to volunteer there one day for a month or two. I think it would be a great experience. I would defiantly recommend going to Tiger Temple if you go to Kanchanaburi.