This report is covering the visit made to Khao Pratap Chang Research Facility, Ratchaburi on 22nd April 2016, by Tiger Temple staff and volunteers to visit the ten tigers relocated there. It focuses on the behaviour and welfare of the tigers that have been taken there.
The facilities were well-maintained and adequate clean water provided for all tigers.
The behaviour of the tigers was improved from the first visit with all the tigers being much more interactive and chuffing. However there were a large number of fresh, raw facial and foreleg injuries possibly caused by rubbing on the fence. Many of the tigers displayed extreme aggression toward the keeper who provides the food.
The Temple staff were allowed to feed grass and bamboo leaves to the tigers as there is no vegetation in their cages for them to get these leaves themselves.
Part way through the visit, a large fire truck arrived to hose down over the top of the cages. All the tigers displayed extreme fear, pacing and running back and forth inside their cages until it stopped and left.
The tigers were all locked down in their night room/den during cleaning and were released upon the arrival of the members from Tiger Temple.
1) Dao Tie – He was very quick to come over with a lot of chuffing as a greeting. His face had multiple open wounds on his cheekbones and a worn patch on his nose. There were also circular marks on both forelegs. The nose wound was reopened and bleeding after the fire truck arrived.
2) Broma – He was waiting and watching to be let out as soon as he could see the Temple staff. He was very interactive and rubbed along the fence in order to be patted. His newly filled bath became a source of play as the grass he was fed fell in the water and he tried to retrieve it. The keeper stated that he would not eat the chicken carcasses but only eat on the days when the full chicken was provided.
3) Dao Tok – He was the most well adjusted tiger of the group. Very relaxed, he came out and interacted briefly but was more interested in eating grass from one of the new keepers with whom he seemed happy to interact. He seemed content to spend most of the time in the bathtub.
4) Dao Nua jr – As soon as the Temple staff arrived, he showed high levels of anticipation to exit his lockdown area to come and interact. As soon as his den was opened he was quick to go to the Temple staff with high levels of chuffing. He too had open rub marks on his cheekbones. For the duration of the Temple staff’s visit, he remained outside in the open area waiting for them to keep visiting. He does not like the keeper at all and would lunge at the fence whenever the keeper was near.
5) Happy – The keepers have now opened the adjoining cage, which is where Dao Lerk lives as they tried to rip down the fence between each other. These two tigers lived their entire 8 years together at the Temple. This is an improvement upon last time as they were separated during the first visit. Happy was still interactive though much less so than the first visit. He also appears to have lost weight and now looks quite skinny.
6) Dao Lerk – The reunion with Happy seems to have improved his behaviour dramatically. During the first visit he refused to exit from his den. This second time he was highly interactive with the Temple staff, chuffing and eager for grass. He appears to have put on weight; he did however have the strange small wounds on his forelegs.
7) Mek Nua jr (Liverpool) – He was very slow to react and had to be coaxed out though he was still better than the first visit where he was lying still and completely unresponsive. He is still the worst in the group in terms of adjustment to the new area, so much so that one of the keepers expressed her concern for him. His facial injuries were also the most extreme – open and bleeding lacerations on his cheekbones, rubbed raw nose and an open wound in the middle of his forehead. He has also dug up the dirt in half of the cage. His interaction with the Temple staff was short.
8) Diamond – Overall his behaviour was the same as when he lived at the Temple. He showed good levels of interaction and was mostly concerned with eating grass.
9) Dawie - At the Temple staff’s initial arrival at his cage he remained inside the den area, though he constantly chuffed as his name was called. He soon came out to greet and chuff, rubbing himself along the fence in order to be touched. However, during the arrival of the fire truck he displayed extreme levels of terror, more than the other tigers and was running frantically back and forth in his cage. When the Temple staff visited after the truck was gone, he had huge amounts of fresh lacerations on both cheekbones, above the nose and also over the eyes, the top of the right eye was swollen. When this was announced to the keeper, the response was that they knew the tigers rubbed their faces. The keeper did not come to look.
10) Saka – Saka only emerged from his den in the last ten minutes of the visit. However it appeared that he was just very content sleeping and relaxing inside. He interacted well and chuffed with the Temple staff and ate grass. He did not spend that much time outside as he appeared nervous and when he went back to the den, he went fairly quickly. He too had injuries on his forelegs.
Overall the general behaviour of the tigers was much improved upon the first visit. For the most part they interacted well with the Temple staff and behaved in a similar way to the behaviour they exhibited whilst living in the Temple – friendly, interactive and a lot of chuffing. However the physical appearance of some of the tigers i.e. the multiple facial wounds caused by rubbing on the fence is a concern especially as it seems nothing is being done to prevent this behaviour occurring and no treatment is being provided.