When a tiger named Tala turned up at a local zoo in Thailand last year, the zoo had no idea what to do with the animal.
The local authorities couldn’t decide on a plan to euthanize the animal or euthanise Tala herself.
So, they decided to give her to a local Christian church.
“We were shocked,” said David Kuan, a spokesman for the temple that oversees the zoo.
“When you see someone that is so different from you, it can make you question your own beliefs.”
Tala’s story has now turned into a national debate, with critics pointing to the church’s decision to accept a captive animal for religious worship.
The temple’s decision is part of a wider trend of Christian churches accepting captive animals as part of their religious practice.
It’s not clear how many religious communities in Thailand accept captive animals.
But the practice is growing.
According to the United Nations, there are more than 1,000 Christian churches that allow captive animals in their worship spaces.
According the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the number of captive animals is rising in some countries.
In 2011, there were more than 200 Christian churches in Thailand that allowed captive animals for worship.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been reports of captive tigers at several Christian temples.
At a recent Christian service, two captive tigers were displayed in the front row.
The animals were separated from their owners before the service began.
A Thai television news program reported that the tigers were being cared for by monks from a local monastery.
But monks from another temple in the city of Pattaya reportedly helped Tala escape from the zoo in December.
A spokesman for another Thai temple told CNN that Tala was a member of a special group of “high priests” who live at the temple.
The spokesman said that the monks have no responsibility for the welfare of Tala.
Some Christians say that captive tigers can have a positive impact on people.
They argue that captive animals can be trained to become friends with humans, or to protect people from predators.
“I’m not sure what a positive outcome is, but we want to make sure that these animals are not abused,” said the spokesman, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.
The U.N. says captive animals are often neglected and often killed by their handlers, and that some animals die because they are neglected.
A tiger was rescued in India in 2009 by a Christian group after she was stolen by her handlers.
The tiger was taken to a private animal shelter in Bangalore and later to a sanctuary in California, where she died.
The Indian government has since banned the sale of captive Asian tigers, citing the threat to national security.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare says captive tigers are sometimes killed by people because they aren’t treated humanely.
In Thailand, the practice of selling captive animals to Christian temples has been called an “unlawful and barbaric practice.”
Some Buddhist groups have condemned the practice, saying it encourages people to treat animals as property.
Tala may have changed the minds of some Christians, but she also has been a boon for the conservation movement.
For years, she was used as a model by animal rights groups.
She has appeared in TV commercials and even acted as a spokesperson for animal welfare organizations in Thailand.
Some animal activists say that Tila’s story could be a powerful reminder of what could happen if the same things happen to captive tigers in the wild.
“This is just one of those rare instances where we have a captive tiger in the right place at the right time and the right circumstances,” said James H. Davis, the president of the Humane Society of the United States.
“The world needs to learn from this.”