Tiger Temple started in 1994 as a sanctuary for tiger cubs orphaned by the illegal poaching industry. The monks care for and raise the tiger cubs since they become accustomed to people and therefore cannot be returned to the wild. At the time of our visit, they had neary 100 tigers living there. They fund the sanctuary by allowing visitors to see and interact with the tigers. We were even allowed into a pen with a small group of 8 people where we could play with and hand feed 2-month old tiger cubs for nearly an hour. This was one of the most fun experiences of our trip.
According to the monks, the deer, wild boar, and other animals that roam free on the grounds are not fenced in and just showed up here for the free food. The only animals held captive are the tigers.
Another example of 3rd world freedoms. Some tigers were chained, but many were with a monk on a leash, as if that would make any difference. I'm sure you could never have a place like this in the USA due to liability issues.
They've been running this place for over 10 years, and so far no tourists have been eaten. I'm sure we'll read about it in the news some day, but for now I'm glad for the opportunity despite the risk.
This was one of the most memorable experiences of our trip. These cubs were so playful and fun we didn't even care when we left all covered in drool and tiger pee. Actually, Kelly claims her cubs were well behaved and she did not get covered in any tiger fluids. I'm proud to admit that I smelled like a litter box afterwards.
That's right kid. One more year and you're my dinner.