The tiger temple has made it clear that they are building a new facility that should be able to hold up to 500 tigers, with their current zoo permit on a piece of 21 rai of land (3,4 hectares only). They will not be forced to stop the breeding of tigers in this new zoo, as the authorities lack the laws to implement such regulation. A zoo is a zoo, so breeding is part of their business. The torturing of tigers for the making of selfies will not stop either as the temple made it very clear this is their main income. The removal of very young tiger cubs from their mothers, so tourists can get their selfies and feed milk will surely continue as well.
We strongly urge the Royal Thai Police to press charges against the abbot, the temple staff and board members as well as the tiger temple foundation ASAP, as the accumulated evidence should be sufficient to find them guilty in a court of law on illegal possession of protected wild animals, the trade in protected wildlife and their body parts and animal torture.
The tiger temple started caring for tigers in 1999, after the abbot of the temple purchased two tiger cubs from an elephant camp nearby the temple. These tigers originated from a tiger farm in Ratchburi, owned by a, at that time, politician. The second couple of tigers were bought from the same man directly and all were hybrids. The story on the temple’s website that the tigers at the temple were the highly endangered Indo-Chinese Tigers (pantera tigris corbetti) and originated from the wild are straight out lies.
It is a fact that the zoo permit should have been revoked, or better never issued at all, due to proven illegal activities by the temple and its staff. Besides this Thailand is a signatory to CITES (Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species) where all range states (Thailand is one of them) have agreed to no further allow commercial breeding of tigers in 2007 (decision 14.69 of CITES). Sad fact it that Thailand reported just over 600 tigers in captivity in 2007, while currently almost 1500 tigers are registered in private homes, zoos and farms, around the country despite the CITES decision. Other reports of 2500 tigers or more are incorrect.
In December 2015 three tigers were taken out of the temple and were handed over (read sold) to illegal wildlife traffickers, which came to light after the chief veterinarian at that time, Dr Somchai, talked to the Thai media and one of our informants. Once Dr Somchai went public it was found that more protected wildlife was taken in to the tiger temple, most bought from well-known wildlife traders. Some of the illegal wildlife found were a collection of highly endangered hornbills, of seven different species, Asiatic black bears and Asian golden jackals. In February 2016 most of these animals were confiscated from the temple, but the jackals were moved out overnight and hidden elsewhere. WFFT knows where these animals are, but are unable to push authorities to act on this.
Over the last week several media stories went up around the world, as news broke that the infamous “Tiger Temple” in Thailand was soon to reopen with 105 tigers they have allegedly bought from a commercial tiger farm in the East of Thailand. This after he tiger temple was found to be involved in illegal wildlife trade, illegal wildlife possession and continued animal torture over the last 15 years.
We have found some false information in some of the articles and therefor we whish to sum up the facts one more time to create a clear picture on the issue.
We strongly urge the director-genera l of the DNP to revoke the zoo license immediately, on the bases of the above evidence in hand and the ongoing investigation.
The tiger temple agreed to give up half of the tigers later in March 2016 back to authorities, with actually only 10 of the 147 being moved out without much trouble. By April 2016 the abbot obtained a zoo permit from the DNP to set up a tiger farm (officially called a tiger zoo) on a small piece of land next to the temple owned by a company called “Tiger Temple Co. Ltd”. The issuing of this permit was met with fierce opposition from Thai wildlife and animal welfare NGO’s. Authorities did not revoke the permit, even though a criminal investigation was ongoing against the temple, the monks, the tiger temple foundation and it’s board of directors. Although “Tiger Temple Co. Ltd.” was a different entity than the temple, it was clear that the only shareholder at that time was also the main man in the temple and the foundation. To stay away from this conflict of interest the “Tiger Temple Co. Ltd.” lately has had its name changed into “Golden Tiger Co. Ltd.”
Tiger Temple to reopen as “Golden Tiger Farm” ! Over the last week several media stories went up around the world, as news broke that the infamous…
“Tiger Temple” publicity photo
The Tiger Temple Co. Ltd., as it was formally known, was run by the quasi-Buddhist monks of the Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno.
The 147 tigers impounded from the Tiger Temple were transported to government wildlife centers, where they remain.
The tigers and other officially endangered or threatened wildlife were removed from the site in May 2016, but more than 100 other animals remained, including cattle, buffalo, deer, boar, peacocks and jungle fowl.
“Some tourists bring them vegetables, bananas and hay as donations,” said temple worker Chamnarn Yothee.
The Tiger Temple had apparently begun the process of re-registering as a zoo before the May 2016 closure, which was led by Adisorn Noochdamrong.
Foxcroft did research for her University of Queensland master’s degree thesis at the temple, beginning in April 2007. Foxcroft published her allegations simultaneously with the publication of a first-hand investigation of the Tiger Temple by National Geographic correspondent Sharon Gunyup and photographer Steve Winter.
The Golden Tiger Zoo will have significantly more competition than did the Tiger Temple. Wildlife Friends founder Edwin Wiek, who led the 13-year campaign to close the Tiger Temple, told Asaree Thaitrakulpanich that eight new tiger-focused tourist attractions have opened in Thailand since the closure.
Asaree Thaitrakulpanich indicated, however, that the animals left on site were “looking very thin.”
The notorious “Tiger Temple” in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, nominally closed when wildlife authorities impounded 147 tigers in May 2016, has reportedly been reincarnated