Monday, 8 August 2016

Thailand’s tiger tourism condemned

A REPORT has exposed what it calls the ‘true scale of abuse’ in #Thailand's #tiger #tourism industry.

The study by World Animal Protection revealed that despite recent negative media coverage, tiger tourism is a growing industry in Thailand. There are 33% more captive tigers in the country now than there were five years ago, with 830 tigers currently being kept at entertainment venues compared to 623 in 2010.

The report also found evidence of captive tigers being mistreated as part of the process designed to make them submissive enough to entertain tourists.

The main welfare concerns highlighted by investigators at Thai tourist venues were tiger cubs being are separated from their mothers just weeks after birth; young cubs being viewed and handled hundreds of times a day; tigers being punished ‘using pain and fear’ to prevent aggressive behaviour; and tigers being housed in small cages or enclosures with limited access to fresh water. More than one in 10 of the tigers observed by investigators showed signs of behavioural problems, such as repetitive pacing and biting their tales.

Says Julie Middelkoop of World Animal Protection: ‘We're asking tourists to think about the welfare of the tigers, and we're calling on the travel industry to stop promoting and profiting from tiger cruelty. If you can get up close, hug, or have a selfie with a tiger, it's cruel … don't go.’

Of the 17 major Thai tiger entertainment venues investigated, Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Pattaya was found to have the highest number of tigers in captivity. It also had some of the poorest conditions, with at least one tiger so thin that its hips and ribs were visible.

As well as urging travellers not to visit tiger attractions, World Animal Protection is calling for travel companies – including TripAdvisor – to stop promoting venues, and on governments to investigate tiger attractions and close down those that show evidence of cruelty.

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