A Temple, Some Tigers, and a Whole Lot of Trouble

An investigative report reveals illegal wildlife trafficking at a Buddhist temple in Thailand.

In December 2014, three adult tigers went missing from Thailand’s Tiger Temple, a Theravada Buddhist temple and tourist attraction that offers hands-on encounters with the big cats. It wasn’t the first suspicious occurrence linked to the so-called sanctuary—former employees had told harrowing accounts of animal abuse, which the monks consistently denied. But a new investigative report published in National Geographic unveils an even darker truth: Conservation advocates and temple insiders say the monks are running an illegal operation that supplies tigers to the international wildlife trade. Watch the above video to get the full story.


onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Join Us