Tiger temple denies allegation about three missing tigers
Wildlife conservation authorities have started to check on and count the number of tigers being kept in captivity at Wat Pa Mahabua, also known as tiger temple, Saiyok district.
The temple spokesman is, meanwhile, denying the allegation that three of 143 tigers have been stolen or secretly taken from the temple.
The temple is one of the popular tourist destinations in the western province. The 149 tigers belong to the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.
The department has permitted the temple to keep and care for the tigers on its behalf.
Last week, veterinarian SomchaiWisetmongkolchai sounded the alarm that three tigers were secretly taken out of the temple. He also claimed the actual number of tigers was 147.
After making the allegation, He resigned his position as the temple’s vet.
After the tigers at the temple attracted attention of tourists, wildlife conservation authorities intervened to take possession of the tigers, a protected species banned from private captivity and possession.
After taking stock of the tigers, the authorities then delegated the temple as wildlife keeper.
Somchai’s allegation prompted the authorities to verify the number of tigers.
But the counting of tigers embedded with microchips could not complete in a day because of the presence of tourists. After the temple closed for visitors, heavy rain slowed down the counting process.
The authorities will today resume the counting and verification process.
Temple spokesman Supitpong Pakcharung said he suspected Somchai to have a hidden agenda in making the “groundless” allegation.
The temple is consulting with people concerned before deciding whether to file libel charge against Somchai, he said.