This morning at 06:00AM the DNP will continue the sedation and moving of the tigers from the tiger temple. A total of 7 tigers were moved yesterday and have arrived around 8PM at the centre of the government. To make it very clear and in reply to many questions asked on this page; There were a total of 137 tigers (at least) at the temple yesterday, so still 130 need to be moved. The tigers that were on the loose yesterday have now either been caught and moved out of the temple or moved to a safe area.
WFFT is seriously concerned about the wellbeing of the tigers for the (near) future, and will monitor their progress. A meeting with Thai NGO’s with the authorities will take place in the coming week where WFFT will offer serious that will hopefully be accepted. A group of almost a dozen Thai NGO’s will work together to find the best solution possible with the authorities.
We would like to make it very clear that we fully support the movement of the tigers for the following reasons;
1. The tiger temple has been implicated in illegal wildlife trafficking, with enough evidence presented to be convicted. This is about at least 3 tigers that have been taken from the temple and sold to wildlife traders in Thailand and Laos to end up as Chinese Traditional Medicine. Furthermore the temple has purchased illegally several wildlife specimen such as hornbills, bears and jackals. The jackals were after confiscation in February 2015 hidden en moved out by temple staff from the temple to an undisclosed location, not found until this date.
2. The temple has refused to stop the breeding and did not allow anyone including government officials to enter the temple and check on the tigers at all over the last 2 months. This was needed as more intelligence on illegal activities was received.
3. The temple refused to stop the shows with tourists, and did not hand over 60 more tigers to the government even though they had earlier agreed to this to obtain a zoo permit.
4. The temple’s lawyer had filed a administrative court case to demand payment of 147,444,000 baht or 4,3 million US$ from the government for the “care” they provided over the last 14 years.
The coming weeks and months will be challenging, with the huge task to care for a total of 147 tigers on top of all already confiscated protected and endangered wildlife. Besides the practical issues of providing proper care and enough space to all these animals we still see also a huge challenge in the criminal investigation into the dealings of the temple regarding the trade in tiger(parts) and illegal possession of other protected wildlife.
Many people are asking why confiscate the tigers? We ask , Should the temple be allowed to continue abusing the tigers?, using them as ‘cash cows’ whether that be through photos with tourists or the buttering of them to sell their body. The answer in no, we fully support the Thai authorities in upholding the law and saving the tigers.