So there my husband and I were in Thailand…(Click on images for larger views!)
The Theravada Buddhist temple is located in the Saiyok district of Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province, not far from the border with Myanmar, some 38 km north-west of Kanchanaburi along the 323 highway. It was founded in 1994 as a forest temple and sanctuary for numerous wild animals. In 1995 it received the Golden Jubilee Buddha Image, made of 80 kilograms of gold.
According to the abbot and others associated with the temple, in 1999, the temple received the first tiger cub, it had been found by villagers and died soon after. The story goes that several tiger cubs were later given to the temple over time, typically when the mothers had been killed by poachers, others who wanted to get rid of their tiger “pets” or those were under pressure to do so as laws and policies surrounding the keeping of protected species became more strict. 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. As of late December 2009, the total number of tigers living at the temple has risen to almost 50.
The subspecies of these tigers is unknown as none of them have been DNA tested, but it is thought that they are Indochinese Tigers, except Mek (a Bengal Tiger). There is also a possibility that there may be some of the newly discovered Malayan Tigers and it is likely that many are cross breeds or hybrids.