one green planet
one green planet

Thai authorities have retracted their decision to seize all 147 tigers from the Tiger Temple. Instead, the tigers will be allowed to remain at the temple on the condition that the temple is not run as a business and the temple does not continue breeding tigers.

It is unclear what caused this dramatic change of heart and the move is considered as a step backwards by wildlife activists and animal lovers who envisaged a better future for these “working” tigers.

It remains to be seen how the Tiger Temple will be run and in what form they will adhere to the new conditions.

With the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation (DNP) apparent watering down its of its initial resolve to seize the tigers, it may seem that efforts to free these tigers from commercial use has been thwarted, and the fate of these tigers has been sealed by “the powers that be.”

Taking a Stand for Tigers

However, no business can exist without a steady demand for its product. And while it’s easy to point the finger at the parties involved, it is up to us as consumers with a conscience to boycott the temple and keep spreading the word that tourists should not attend.

As animal lovers and activists, we have an empathy for these creatures that others seem to find easy to ignore if indeed they ever had any. When injustices happen, it is easy for people to become angry and aggressive. Which could prove self-defeating and result in people losing sight of their true intention.

Compassion is true power and is stronger than any influence motivated by self-interest. People who are true activists are not motivated by a need for power or money or fame but rather by a desire to provide retribution for the injustice and cruelty such as that shown to these tigers.

The intention is not to win battles or seek revenge but to simply return these captive tigers to a true sanctuary as close to nature as possible where they don’t have to work or reproduce or even die for a living.

Change may not happen overnight, but there is an undeniable growing awareness which is becoming impossible to ignore. There may still be hope for these tigers. There is certainly a viable and more humane alternative.

The Tiger Temple is only one of many tourist attractions that exploits wild animals for human entertainment. What next happens there will be closely monitored by concerned animal lovers around the world. It will also be indicative of the future of the other zoos, safaris, aquariums and animal shows which have questionable practices and ethics. If one falls, surely, the rest must follow through.

Every action, every word we speak in support of animal rights can and will contribute to change.

We appear to be at an important tipping point, so let’s keep educating our kids, spreading the word and keep reminding people why they should not visit places like the Tiger Temple.

We have the power to choose right tourism and we can start by asking the right questions about the motives of the industry and our participation:

  • Tiger selfies or candid tiger photos in nature?

  • Glorified petting zoos or true animal sanctuaries?

  • Breeding tigers in captivity or protecting tigers in the wild?

  • Up close and personal or staying a safe distance from a dangerous WILD animal?

  • Donating money to tiger conservation or providing profit for powerful businessmen?

  • Supporting an economy based on ethical or cruel treatment of animals?

  • Rebalancing our ecosystem or humans messing with nature?

  • Living by example or preaching without practice?

  • Ignorance or awareness?

  • Kindness or cruelty?

  • Life or death?

The fate of these tigers and other wild animals involved in tourist entertainment industry ultimately depends on the choices we make. What will be yours?

Image source: Koshy Koshy/Flickr