There’s no denying it anymore; Thailand’s ‘zoos’ are synonymous with illegal wildlife trade.This has become painfully clear in recent months, with the infamous Tiger Temple being granted a zoo license in April, and shortly thereafter being the centerpiece of a now-notorious raid. Here, authorities found 40 frozen tiger cubs, all under a week old, that had been dead for just a few days – one of many indications that temple staff were illegally breeding, trading and trafficking tigers to the black market, and stimulating demand for unsustainable, illicit and ecologically inappropriate wildlife products derived from their bones and fur.
But the Tiger Temple is not the only one. Since the raid Thai authorities have been looking in to a number of other tiger zoos nationwide, and in 2010 Freeland played a pivotal role in exposing Star Tiger Zoo owner Daoruang Chaiyamat for what she really is: a prolific and unscrupulous black market tiger trader. [Read full story] Recently, gruesome details have surfaced of how these magnificent creatures are abused, commoditized and traded among farms or ‘zoos’, and then drowned in order to keep their pelt, meat and bones in tact. [Read full story] But we are not powerless to stop this. Today, on International Tiger Day, what you can do to help combat the appalling exploitation of this awe-inspiring species is simple: spread the word, and support organizations like Freeland working to take down these tiger traders. [Click here to donate]
Tell your friends, family, and anyone who will listen about the ills of animal tourism, and that by visiting a zoo you are inadvertently funding wildlife traffickers. Share articles about it on social media, name and shame, and denounce these ‘zoos’ and their practices. Because without patrons, these establishments can’t survive… but Thailand’s tigers just might.