The Tiger and the Monk

Visit Wat Pa Luangta Bua, where tigers and monks live together in harmony

Wat Pa Luangta Bua is a monastery of meditation, situated far away from any civilization, about 200 kilometers west of Bangkok, and here, silence, peace, monks with tigers and harmony reign.

Every afternoon, a daily ritual is observed — nonchalant Buddhist monks take their ten 3-5 year old tigers out on a leash for a walk through the bordering region of Burma. They take care of the tigers, feed them and celebrate them as their most sacred animal. The monks treat grown-up animals with reverence and respect although they cuddle and play with the cubs.

The tigers were once the “aristocrats” of the jungle of South East Asia but today, this undisputed ruler of the animal kingdom is one of the most endangered species in the world.

Three of the eight subspecies are already extinct, a fate that could also overcome the others. Only an estimated 500 to 2000 tigers of Indochina still inhabit the intact jungle regions of South China, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

This documentary portrays the harmonious relationship between predators and humans without disregarding the monk’s maxim that “a tiger will always be a tiger, even if it feeds from the hand. It will always be a wild animal”.

The Tiger and the Monk
  • Info
  • Release date2007
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Walter Köhler
  • Part of the seriesThe Secrets of Nature
  • Production companyCosmos Factory