BRITISH GIRL MAULED BY TIGER IN THAILAND – Thailand’s reputation for tourist safety is once again being called into question after Isabelle Brennan, 19, a student from Britain was mauled by a tiger at one of Thailand’s Tiger Temple Sanctuaries.
Thailand is one of the few places in the world that allows tourists to pet tigers. The Thai authorities and the monks at the temple sanctuary maintain that the tigers are tame.
Anyone with a modicum of common sense will agree that a tiger is a highly effective hunter and that you cannot suppress or control millions of years of evolution.
Big cats, especially tigers are simply not animals that can be tamed and petted like a domestic cat or dog.
Isabelle was assured by monks that the tigers were sleeping and docile; they are, according to the Thai monks, docile, tame and used to tourists.
Within moments of petting one tiger another 400lb tiger attacked Isabelle from nowhere, knocking her to the ground and began mauling her upper thigh.
Isabelle was lucky to survive and was saved by keepers as they jumped in to tackle the tiger whilst her 21 year old sister, Georgie, dragged Isabelle to safety.
It has now been eight weeks since the incident and still Isabelle cannot walk unaided and the attack has left her with a permanent scar as a reminder that her ordeal in Thailand ended with a very lucky escape.
The tigers at the Temple Sanctuary are orphaned tigers which are hand-reared by Buddhist monks. Whilst it might be said that the tigers are used to seeing tourists it can also be noted that they are also used to seeing deer in their natural habitat; just because it is a common sight doesn’t suggest that a tiger wouldn’t attack something it considers as easy prey.
Isabelle recounted her ordeal and noted how calm things were before the attack and then from nowhere she was attacked. Isabelle remembers a searing pain as the tiger sunk its teeth and claws into her upper thigh.
Another quick thinking tourist applied a tourniquet around her leg in order to stem the bleeding. Isabelle was then rushed to the nearby Kanchanaburi Memorial Hospital where she received ten stitches.
After contracting an infection and suffering from a high fever Isabelle spent the next two weeks in the Thai hospital before flying home.
Isabelle told reporters how nervous she was about entering the tiger sanctuary however keepers and monks continued to reassure her that all the tigers were tame and hand reared.
Isabelle now wants to warn other tourists of the danger and that tigers, no matter how beautiful and majestic they are do not belong in captivity and have certainly not evolved to be tame pets as the monks claim.
Thailand has an appalling track record of tourist safety and most of it can be directly attributed to negligence and greed. Tourist safety has always played second fiddle to making money and this will continue until tourists abandon Thailand as a holiday destination.
With the continuous stream of derogatory press over tourist safety issue, tourist scams and of course the growing violent crime rate against tourists, Thailand is beginning to suffer the consequences as tourism numbers decline.
Despite the continuing decline in tourist numbers the Thailand Authority of Thailand (TAT) regularly churns out press releases that paint tourism in a very rosy light. It has long been said by the tourist industry that TAT’s method of dealing with bad press is simply to issue a press release that purports high numbers of tourists flocking to Thailand – this is instead of directly tackling the problems head on and finding solutions to remedy them.
There have been a number of reports regarding the Tiger Sanctuary with many tourists noting that the tigers are extremely docile and it has long been suspected that the tigers are severely drugged on a daily basis.
The practice of using animals to make money from tourists in Thailand, even endangered species, is nothing new.
In Phuket, Thailand earlier this year we wrote an article on how tourist touts used Lories, an endangered and protected animal under Thai law, in order to make money from tourists.
The report looked at the deplorable practice of how these touts were often arrested, made to pay a fine which the police pocketed, and then allowed to leave the police station along with their Lories in order to target more tourists.
Tourists need to be made aware of these practices and also the dangers of visiting Thailand; it has long been established that tourist safety is of little concern when there is money to be made.