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Zoos in clear after tiger meat found?

Bangkok Post


Zoos in clear after tiger meat found

Published: 11/02/2012 at 12:00 AM


CHON BURI : The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has found nothing illegal at two tiger farms in Chon Buri province.

The two farms were inspected after a police raid on a townhouse in Klong Sam Wa district in Bangkok found more than 400kg of tiger meat and carcasses. The police suspected the dead tigers were from a zoo in Chon Buri province.

Theerapat Prayoonsit, the department’s deputy chief, said the Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm in Bang Lamung district and Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Si Racha district were inspected by officials. In both cases, they were able to correctly account for the number of tigers they possessed.

“They have documents which they presented to us about their tigers, including deaths and births. However, we did find that some of the ages did not match the physical appearances of some tigers, which we will need to clarify later,” Mr Theerapat said. He said further strict inspections will continue to prevent tiger smuggling. The department has been working with an international agency on a programme to identify the striping on tigers.

Meanwhile, the department will take photos of the tigers to note the stripes on the right and left sides of the body and the forehead. That will take about three months to complete. According to the department, there are 888 tigers in 21 tiger farms around the country.

Suan Panomwattanakul, managing director of the Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm, said there are 49 tigers held at the farm and the only recent births recorded there were of two elephants. “I have done everything under the regulations. If the police want to visit our farm, we welcome them. We can also explain to them every detail they need to know,” he said. Supadol Chommongkol, manager of Sriracha Tiger Zoo, said it was impossible for the farm to sell tigers to butchers. “As we are a big farm, the authorities have paid us a lot of attention. We have carefully recorded the number of tigers and have significant documentation which shows our sincerity to the law.”

Note from Edwin/WFFT founder:

The sentence “we did find that some of the ages did not match the physical appearances of some tigers” is a very important one;

Here is a sign that the zoo makes sure its total registered number of tigers is always correct, by probably not registering all new born cubs and therefore being able to get rid of older tigers in the meantime. This is exactly what wildlife traffickers have told me for years; old tigers (mostly male) can’t be used for shows with people, do not deliver babies and especially the males get aggressive and eat more than other tigers, being a financial burden for the zoo. They can turn the burden into profit if this “overstock” of animals is sold on the very profitable black market.

Small comparison: Caring for one adult tiger for one year at a tiger farm will cost at least 3,600 US dollars, a dead fully grown tiger of about 160-200 Kilos will fetch at least 7,000 US dollars from a middleman.

Tiger farms as the ones in Chonburi, a tiger temple, or a kingdom in the North need a continuous flow of cubs to entertain tourists that in due time become “useless” or even a burden to the zoos, hence their need to clear these “overstocks” and turn it in to profits!

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