Wildlife officials investigating the infamous Tiger Temple attempted to rescue six Asiatic black bears from cages but were stopped by about 100 of the temple’s monks and disciples last night.
Having faced previous resistance to their attempt to determine the fate of several tigers which vanished from the temple, officials returned last night with a search warrant and also attempted to attempted to relocate six Asiatic black bears it did not legally possess.
“The bears are not in the Wildlife’s Department’s record, and the temple cannot present a document to claim ownership of the bears,” Somsak Phupetch, Director of the Forest Protection Division said. “Therefore the bears must be confiscated and relocated to the Banglamung Wildlife Breeding Center in Chonburi.”
About 100 tropical birds believed to have been trafficked were seized from the temple in February, and the move to rescue the bears comes after four others were rescued from another temple after the awful death of “Kwan” the Malayan sun bear, who died in captivity at Hong Noit Temple in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.
Officers reportedly sedated the bears and moved them onto the trucks without help from temple staff, who were preoccupied a novice ordination festival.
However, when officials attempted to drive away at 5pm, the gates were blocked by a pack of praying monks and disciples, led by the temple’s abbot Phra Wisut Sarathane.
The negotiation went on until 1am as officials sought backup to help clear the gate this morning. There has been no report whether they successfully rescued the bears or not, Thairath reported.
Photo: Spring News