Tiger temple standoff: Illegal bears removed despite abbot's objections (UPDATED)

Tiger temple standoff: Illegal bears removed despite abbot's objections (UPDATED)

The six protected Asian black bears held illegally at the famed “Tiger Temple” have finally been removed by crane after 100 monks and disciples blocked the gates to prevent forestry officials from taking them away.

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Evening update

Bears removed from temple

Foresty officials use a crane to take the captive Asian black bears out of the temple compound. PIYARACH CHONGCHAROEN

Temple abbot Phra Vissuthisaradhera firmly rejects deputy Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief Thanya Netithammakun's request to allow the bears to leave the temple. PIYARACH CHONGCHAROEN

Two of the Asian black bears, known as "mee kwai" in Thai, in their cages. PIYARACH CHONGCHAROEN

Edwin Wiek, founder of the Wildlife Friends of Thailand (WFFT), reports via twitter that the bears have been successfully removed from the temple, but not with permission of the abbot or the temple's monks. Forestry officials were forced to bring in a crane and hoist the container holding the bears over a fence. They will now be taken to the Banglamung Wildlife Breeding Centre Thailand in Chon Buri.

The operation, according to Thai PBS took only twenty minutes as security forces blocked monks and disciples from interferring.

Post Today reporter Piyarach Chongcharoen  said the decision to use the crane took place after a tense 10-minute negotiation between deputy Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief Thanya Netithammakun and temple abbot Phra Vissuthisaradhera who flatly refused to release the bears and demanded their return.

Monks at the “Tiger Temple” in Kanchanaburi block the main gate to stop forestry officials from taking away six Asian black bears they claim are illegally owned by the temple. PIYARACH CHONGCHAROEN

Noon update

Channel 3 has just reported that the situation at the temple remains tense as the abbot is still refusing to allow forestry officials to leave with the six bears. About 400 military and police officers are at the site to keep order. The animals are said to becoming increasingly agitated due to the hot weather and being confined in such a limited space. Thai PBS says that forestry officials are planning on completing the move within the day, but did say how this was going to be done.

Morning update

Reinforcements arrive at the temple early this morning. Twitter photo via @EdwinWiek

The standoff continues this morning, reports Edwin Wiek, founder of the Wildlife Friends of Thailand (WFFT) through his twitter account (@EdwinWiek). Authorities have sent reinforcements, but as of mid-morning, forestry officials and the bears have not been able to leave the temple.

Tiger temple monks in tense standoff over illegal bears

Piyarach Chongcharoen

KANCHANABURI — About 100 monks and disciples at the famed “Tiger Temple” have blocked the gates to prevent forestry officials from leaving after they seized six protected Asian black bears said to be illegally possessed by the temple.

A team of about 70 military officers, police, veterinarians and officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) raided Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno in Sai Yok district on Thursday afternoon. They had a court search warrant to examine bears found in cages at the temple a day earlier.

Somsak Phupetch, director of DNP’s wildlife crime suppression unit, said monks and staff at the temple were uncooperative when the team visited the temple to investigate the case of three missing tigers on Wednesday. That was when they discovered the black bears.

Mr Somsak said the temple failed to show official documentation for the bears and staff refused to unlock the cages that housed them. The team had to use cutting tools to seize the animals after shooting them with anaesthetic darts.

DNP officials break into the cages holding the bears after temple officials refused to open them. PIYARACH CHONGCHAROEN

Phra Vissuthisaradhera, the abbot, then led about 100 monks, staff and disciples to block the main gate at about 6pm to prevent the officials’ truck carrying the bears from leaving. They placed metal barricades across the gate and sat on the ground, demanding that the officials return the bears before leaving the premises.

The situation became tense as the number of protesting monks and followers grew later in the evening and neither side would back down.

At 9pm, Kanchanaburi deputy governor Boonyapat Chatara-urai arrived at the temple to mediate, but failed to end the stand-off as the monks continued to insist that the officials release their bears.

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  • abbot (noun): the head monk at a temple - เจ้าอาวาส
  • agitated (adj): anxious and nervous - ปั่นป่วน, กระวนกระวายใจ, ตื่นเต้น
  • anaesthetic: a substance that makes you unable to feel pain or makes you fall alseep - ยาชา,ยาสลบ
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • back down (verb): to take back or remove a demand, an opinion, a planned action etc. that other people are strongly opposed to - ยอมตาม
  • barricade: a temporary structure that is built across a road to prevent people from getting through - แผงหรือแนวรั้วกั้น
  • block: to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else - ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
  • breeding: the producing of young animals, plants, etc - การผสมพันธุ์สัตว์เพื่อขยายพันธุ์
  • cage (noun): a container made of wire or metal bars and usually used for keeping birds or animals in - กรง
  • claim: to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - อ้าง
  • confined: kept somewhere and not allowed to leave; detention - ถูกกักตัว
  • conservation (noun): the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity - การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้
  • container: something used for storing or holding things - หีบบรรจุ
  • crane: a tall machine used for lifting or moving heavy objects and building tall buildings - ปั้นจั่นยกของหนัก
  • dart: a small pointed object, sometimes with feathers to help it fly, that is shot as a weapon or thrown in the game of darts - ลูกดอก
  • demand: to ask for something very firmly - เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ
  • deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
  • disciple: someone who admires a famous person such as a political or religious leader and is influenced by them - ลูกศิษย์, สานุศิษย์
  • discover: to find somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - ค้นพบ
  • documentation: pieces of paper containing official information; documents used for proving that something is true - เอกสารที่ใช้ในการพิสูจน์, เอกสารที่ใช้ในการอ้างอิง
  • famed: famous - ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียง
  • flatly: in a firm and definite way intended to end discussion of a subject -
  • forestry: the growing of trees - การทำป่าไม้, วิชาการป่าไม้
  • founder (noun): a person who establishes an institution, business, or organisation - ผู้ก่อตั้ง
  • hoist: to lift something to a higher position - ชูขึ้น ยกสูงขึ้น
  • illegally: in a way that is against the law - อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
  • insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
  • interfere: to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this - แทรกแซง
  • investigate: to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
  • limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
  • mediate: to talk to two separate people or groups involved in a disagreement to try to help them to agree or find a solution to their problems - ไกล่เกลี่ย
  • negotiations: formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement - การเจรจาต่อรอง
  • permission: allowing someone to do something - การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
  • possession: having or owning something - การครอบครอง
  • premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
  • prevent (verb): to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, ป้องกัน, กัน, กีดขวาง
  • protected animal: an animal protected by law, making it illegal to to kill or harm the animal -
  • raid: to use force to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs - บุกเข้าจับ, เข้าตรวจค้น
  • refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
  • reinforcements (noun): extra police officers, soldiers or people who go to help an existing group - การระดมกำลัง
  • reject: to not agree with a request, offer or proposal - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ, ไม่เห็นชอบ
  • release: to allow someone or something to go free - ปล่อย
  • search warrant: an official document that allows the police to search a building - หมายค้น
  • seize (verb): to take control of by force or official power - ยึกครอง
  • site: a place where something is located - สถานที่
  • staff: workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
  • standoff: a disagreement or fight in which neither opponent can do anything to win or achieve their aim; a stalemate - สถานการณ์ที่ต่างเอาชนะกันไม่ได้
  • suppression: stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity  - การปราบปราม
  • tense: making you feel nervous or worried - ทำให้เครียด
  • uncooperative (adj): not willing to be helpful to other people or do what they ask - ไม่ให้ความร่วมมือ
  • veterinarian: a person with a medical degree trained to take care of the health of animals - สัตวแพทย์
  • via: through - ผ่าน (ช่องทาง)
  • wildlife: animals, birds, insects, etc. that are wild and live in a natural environment - สัตว์ป่า

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