Tiger Temple Defends Abott as Authorities Find Fresh Evidence
Authorities had found frozen carcasses of at least 40 tiger cubs and at least 137 tigers were relocated.
Thai authorities on Friday revealed that they have gathered solid evidence against the Tiger temple’s abbot and have asked investigators to trace the Buddhist monastery cum Tiger zoo’s earnings, reportedly over $3 million annually.
The now infamous Tiger temple was a a key tourist attraction, located a couple of hours outside Bangkok in Kanchanaburi.
Earlier last week, wildlife officials from Thailand, in a raid, had relocated 137 tigers kept in the Buddhist temple that operated as an admission-charging zoo and at that time was suspected of illegally trafficking tigers.
On Friday, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), Deputy Director General, Adisorn Noochdumrong said all tiger farms in Thailand will be inspected for possible involvement in tiger trafficking.
Tiger Temple’s abbot Luang Ta Chan, who was not at the monastery during the raids at had returned but cancelled his scheduled press conference on Thursday because of a heart attack.
A lawyer for the Tiger Temple foundation informed abbot Luang Ta Chan could not talk to reporters as he had suddenly suffered an acute heart attack.
However, reports say he was later seen inside the premises on a golf cart and he even waved to the media.
Siri Wangbunkerd, a temple follower and former Bangkok MP, spoke to the press on behalf of the abbot and denied all allegations against the temple and Luang Ta Chan.
Defending the temple, he insisted that the pickled tiger cubs were to be used for scientific research purposes and were to be displayed in the temple’s museum and were certainly not for sale.
Authorities during the raids had found frozen carcasses of at least 40 tiger cubs and at least 137 tigers were relocated.
Last week, Thailand’s wildlife authority shut down the Tiger temple after several carcasses of tiger cubs were found in freezers at the sprawling temple grounds. A slaughterhouse was also found at the premises on Tuesday by police.
(With agency inputs)
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