Final move on Tiger Temple set for Monday

Final move on Tiger Temple set for Monday

A monk feeds a tiger from a baby milk bottle at the controversial Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. (File photo/Piyarach Chongcharoen)
A monk feeds a tiger from a baby milk bottle at the controversial Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. (File photo/Piyarach Chongcharoen)

More than a thousand officials will descend on the Tiger Temple on Monday to begin relocating all of its tigers, as senior administrators warned of tough legal action against anyone who obstructed them.

Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation deputy director-general Adisorn Nuchdumrong said Sunday teams of officials would collect the remaining 137 tigers and take them to Pa Khao Son and Khao Prathap Chang wildlife breeding centres in Ratchaburi.

He urged monks and disciples at Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno to cooperate with the officials. 

He said the relocation plan would take seven day as the department expected to be able to transport only 20 tigers a day. 

Officials will seek permission from the court to enter the temple grounds and remove the tigers if they are met with resistance. 

“If there is a fight or obstruction of authorities performing their duty, the department will sue everyone because officials have to do their job and [the temple] has been notified in advance,” Mr Adisorn said.   

He stressed that the tigers were state property and the temple as well as the Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Foundation, which oversees the tigers, could no longer exploit them. 

Earlier this year there were 147 tigers under the care of the temple in Sai Yok district, but park officials relocated 10 of them to the Ratchaburi wildlife breeding centres on Jan 28 and Feb 23. 

The department had notified the temple of Monday's action, but was told the temple would not give consent as it had filed a suit with the Central Administrative Court to stop the relocation. The temple said the department should wait for the court’s ruling before proceeding.

Mr Adisorn argued the court has not decided to accept the temple’s suit for consideration. 

He was speaking after a two-hour meeting with park officials to discuss their relocation plan of the 137 tigers. The safety of tigers and officials were first priorities during the operation, he noted.  

It was reported that Monday’s raid would involve more than 1,000 officials comprising staff from parks offices nationwide, soldiers from Surasee Military Camp and Kanchanaburi provincial police, plus local administrative authorities.

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