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Standoff at Tiger Temple ends with bears removed to new house in Chonburi

Samui Times Editor



Standoff at Tiger Temple ends with bears removed to new house in Chonburi | Samui Times
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Standoff at Tiger Temple ends with bears removed to new house in ChonburiStandoff at Tiger Temple ends with bears removed to new house in Chonburi

bears removed from tiger temple in ThailandAfter almost 24-hour standoff at the Tiger Temple in Saiyok district of Kanchanaburi between about 200 protesting monks, novices, local residents, and some 600 authorities, six Asian black bears were finally removed from the temple to their new sanctuary in Chonburi late yesterday.

The mission to remove the Asian black or Moon bears from the Tiger Temple was ordered by the director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, after authorities tried desperately to negotiate the temple abbot to allow park officials to take the six bears in cages out of the temple compound.

The monks and authorities confronted each other at the main gate of the temple overnight with the bears in cage on the truck since Thursday night.

Earlier today, the entrance into the animal grounds remained under siege by almost 200 monks and novices who tried to obstruct authorities gaining entry into temple grounds. An announcement was shouted out on a loudspeaker by the abbot, Phra Wisuthisarn Thera for the monks and novices to sit down on the ground and should authorities attempt to move them by force they were not to put up a fight but to instead prostrate themselves.

The abbot insisted that the bears must not be taken out.

He also questioned why authorities want to take the bears when in fact they have been raised by the temple for over a decade and none of the authorities would ever come to visit and take care of the health of the beasts.

He declared he was ready to die if the bears were taken out.

However after all efforts failed to convince the abbot to release the truck though court warrant was shown to him they have authority, the abbot didn’t listen.

A rescue mission was later plotted.

A huge crane was moved in by the side wall of the temple awaiting an order to begin the rescue operation.

Meanwhile in front of the temple, a park official jumped on board the blocked truck to take over the wheel. He then put on reverse gear and slowly moved backward into the temple while in front of him the combined force of police, soldiers, and park officials formed a human wall to obstruct the protesting monks, novices and supporters to follow.

As the truck moved closer to the wall where the crane was waiting, order to lift the cages were then given.

However it was not an easy job to lift the cages as the wall was six metres high with bulwarks on the crests and protesting monks, novices and supporters shouting and cursing the operation.

However the mission was accomplished in just 15 minutes with all the six bears moved out from the temple grounds onto a lorry that was parked on the outside.

The standoff was over.

But authorities said they would still continue to inspect the temple looking for illegally captured animals and the missing tigers.

Thai PBS


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