Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"In waking a tiger, use a long stick." -Mao Tse-Tung

Post by: Beth

So at long last, we have returned to the States, settled into an apartment in New York City, and are back into what can only be called 'the daily grind.' :) As our life settles down into a bit more normalcy, I'm sure we'll have a bit fewer blog posts, but I still want to post holidays, big events, vacations, and some special occasions every once in a while.

Before we launch into this new 'less traveled' phase of our lives and our blog, I wanted to wrap up our Asia posts with one of the coolest adventures we experienced during our overseas travels. While visiting Thailand, we traveled about 3 hours driving distance from Bangkok, to the province of Kanchanaburi. The "Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery" temple was founded in 1994 , and since its opening Wat Pa Luangta Bua has gained a reputation as a wildlife sanctuary. It started with an injured wild fowl given to the monk by the villagers, and soon after, peacocks followed, then an injured wild boar brought his family of 10 boar for shelter after being cared for by the monks. Then four species of deer moved in, followed by buffalo, cow, horses, wild goat and gibbons. All these animals are roaming the grounds of the monastery freely.

In 1999, the temple received the first tiger cub. When she was only a few months old her mother was killed by poachers near the Thai-Burma border. The cub was sold and the new owner ordered her stuffed. A local was hired to do the job, which fortunately he did not finish. Although he injected her in the neck with the preservative formalin, the cub survived. When she arrived to the to the monastery she was frail and terrified of a slightest sound. The story goes that several tiger cubs were later given to the temple over time, typically when the mothers had been killed by poachers. As of 2007, over 21 cubs have been born at the temple and the total number of tigers is about 12 adult tigers and 4 cubs. Used to human contact, and fed a diet of cat food and boiled chicken or beef (to avoid giving the tigers the taste for blood), these tigers are raised and cared for by the monks... and tourists can now visit the monastery and interact with these animals!

Here are some of the pictures from our adventure. We played with the tiger cubs (my favorite part!), walked some of the larger tigers (not my favorite part.. they are very strong!), bathed the furry fellows, hand-fed them boiled chicken meat, and watched them play and exercise in a huge canyon. The day was amazing, and we walked away with a strange surreal feeling of just gentle and loving these huge cats were, and how happy they were to play with us as we spent time with them. It was a great way to complete our year-long tour of Asia.


Rhonda Walker said...

Yay a new post. Good job. I enjoyed it for the most part but those hands are awfully close to that mouth in the second picture. I would have been using a long stick to hold that bottle up, no matter how cute the "kitty" was. =)

John and Mary Grace said...

This is AMAZING!!!! What an awesome experience!