The Tiger Temple where tourists can 'pat cats' - but why are they so docile?
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A Tiger Temple where tourists can go and stroke the animals is becoming one of Thailand's biggest tourist attractions.
The site in the western province of Kanchanaburi, about 80km from Bangkok, began in 1999 when a female cub was brought to Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno, a Buddhist sanctuary, and was cared for by the monks.
It is one of the only places on the world where visitors can actually touch and interact with tigers. And, while this might be one reason for its popularity, it has also sparked controversy over its ethics, with some critics wondering why the tigers are so sleepy for 'visiting hours'.
According to the Daily Mail, tourists have a half-hour window where they can 'pat cats' while one sanctuary worker takes a picture and the other looks out for the tiger.
For £20, they can visit them in the Tiger Canyon, a quarry with a pool, which is home to around 12 tigers chained to the ground.
The small opportunity of time to touch the animals has prompted some people to suggest they have been sedated, something the temple denies.
They say the cats are docile because they have been hand-reared and do not see humans as a threat.
Thailand is one of just 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations and is a hub of international smuggling.
Worldwide, numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago.
Would you visit the Tiger Temple for a photo opportunity? Or do you believe it is not in the best interests of the animals? Leave your thoughts below...
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