Thailand’s Tiger Temple is one of the country’s best-known tourist attractions. Yet marketed as a sanctuary to help conserve an endangered species, activists claim it has a history of exploitation and abuse.
“If you’re selling animal exploitation as a conservation project, then I have a serious concern,” states Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. There’s something undeniably mysterious and majestic about tigers, even in captivity. But while tourists are told the temple is a sanctuary for rescued animals, conservationist and animal rights activist, Sybelle Foxcroft, claims they are treated appallingly. “I personally saw sticks being broken across tigers’ backs.” The temple claims “assertive treatment” is the only way to train these powerful animals. In stark contrast, Foxcroft describes it as “probably one of the most horrific things I’ve ever seen.”