Friday, February 05, 2016

Video Evidence Links Thailand’s Tiger Temple To Wildlife Trafficking

Seriously, WTF. This is just bad and sad news. I remember watching a documentary about this Tiger Temple. So this new investigative video came out quite recently (Jan 2016). I document the aricle here. 

Video Evidence Links Thailand’s Tiger Temple To Wildlife Trafficking

Nat Geo and Cee4Life release proof that the commercial trade has been active for over a decade.
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POSTED  ON: JANUARY 22, 2016 12:00 AM

Wildlife activists have long accused Thailand’s Tiger Temple (2 hours from Bangkok) of exploiting its captive big cats, a claim that has been vehemently denied by the monks, and ignored by its steady inflow of visitors. New evidence reveals that the Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Temple has been engaging in illegal cross-border tiger trafficking, as reported in aNational Geographic exclusive by photographer Steve Winter and writer Sharon Guynup, both conservation journalists. Their special investigation video has footage and interviews that implicate the controversial temple in the illegal trade. As Guynup puts it, what this means, is that “the tiger that you took a selfie with one day could end up dead and smuggled across the border the next.”

The National Geographic investigators found that the Buddhist monastery and popular tourist draw has been smuggling tigers to farms in neighbouring Laos at least since 2004, under the guidance of its founder and leader, Abbot Phra Acham Phoosit (Chan) Kanthitharo. In a recent internal letter to National Geographic Traveller India, Guynup revealed that Thai authorities will begin relocating the temple’s tigers to its own wildlife facilities, with the Royal Thai Police taking over the investigation in the next few weeks.
The Tiger Temple draws in an estimated three million dollars a year and currently houses 147 tigers, a big draw for visitors who feed, walk and take selfies with the captive animals for a hefty fee. Last December, Steve Winter and Sharon Guynup were tipped off by documents, audio and video released by Australian nonprofit Cee4Life, the culmination of a nine-year investigation that was made public on 22 Jan 2016.
“The impact of illegal trading from a captive facility like the Tiger Temple extends far beyond the lives and welfare of these 147 tigers,” Guynup wrote in her letter. “Captive tigers leaked into the illegal trade from any source feed a growing demand for luxury tiger products, including tiger skins and tiger bone wine. That demand places the lives of every one of the world’s last 3,200 wild tigers in danger. As tiger expert Judy Mills notes at the end of our video, ‘This is not just about a single Buddhist temple in Thailand. This is about the fate of wild tigers.’”

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