Founded in 1994, Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, a Theravada Buddhist temple in western Thailand, is also known as “Tiger Temple.” This forest temple/animal sanctuary is, in fact, home to many wild animals, the majority of which are Indochinese tigers. As of July 2014, the total number of tigers living at the temple has risen to 135. Though the temple has fallen under scrutiny for years and even been accused of animal mistreatment, Thai officials have found no evidence. In fact, the temple’s monks have established an extraordinarily unique relationship with the nearby tigers, allowing the big cats to freely wander the temple grounds alongside them.
As wild tigers become increasingly rare in the forests of Asia and the very future of the species remains uncertain, the Tiger Temple continues to rescue these majestic beasts.