On Saturday, the abbot of Kanchanaburi’s Tiger Temple announced that he has somehow secured a zoo license and is seeking to have five disabled tigers returned to him so he can re-open his tourist attraction temple to visitors.
It was the first time the abbot, Luang Ta Chan, spoke with the press since 147 tigers were removed from the temple amid a scandal in May. He said that, after he gets the five tigers, he wants to turn the place into a zoo since he still has boars, cows, water buffalo and deer on the premises, reported Bangkok Post.
He noted that prosecution is still moving forward against the Tiger Temple and their suspected involvement in tiger trafficking. Officials charged with removing the tigers in May also found the bodies of 70 deceased baby tigers, two full-size pelts, countless trinkets made of tiger carcasses, as well as bottles labeled as supplements that said they contained tiger powder.
Entrance to the now-closed Tiger Temple. Photo: Thai PBS.
The abbot has denied all charges against him.
A total of twenty-two people, including three monks, were arrested for breaking the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act.
The abbot also said that he wants to breed animals at the property.