Tiger Temple to sue wildlife officials

Tiger Temple to sue wildlife officials

One of the temple's 147 tigers is pictured during the five-day operation to relocate the big cats from the Tiger Temple in Sai Yok district, Kanchanaburi, which began on May 30. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)
One of the temple's 147 tigers is pictured during the five-day operation to relocate the big cats from the Tiger Temple in Sai Yok district, Kanchanaburi, which began on May 30. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

Lawyer representing the scandal-ridden Tiger Temple said Monday the Kanchanaburi temple intends to sue the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) for seizing 147 tigers from its facility.

Saiyut Boonpeng said disciples and members of Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno, better known as the Tiger Temple, along with the Luang Ta Maha Bua Foundation, were collecting documents and evidence dated back to 2001 when the DNP left seven tigers under the temporary care of the temple.

Mr Saiyut said temple authorities last week contacted “one of the country’s top lawyers”, who is deciding whether to pursue the lawsuit. 

The suit would seek to reclaim the confiscated tigers, using the 2003 Sukhumvit Square beer bar demolition case as an example. Mr Saiyut said the razing of the square by hired thugs was similar to the moving of 147 tigers by the wildlife officials. 

The DNP tried to confiscate seven tigers in 2001 after discovering they were being kept at the temple, but later allowed them to stay after the temple said they were well looked after. The tigers were allegedly found injured in the wild by villagers who later asked the monk to take care of them.

The number of tigers at the temple increased over the years to 147. All have since been relocated from the temple in Sai Yok district to two wildlife centres in nearby Ratchaburi province.


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