THE WORLD FAMOUS and highly controversial “Tiger temple” has now won a licence to operate a zoo, which will be developed with a budget of Bt120 million.
The temple, known as Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno, is in a remote part of Kanchanaburi province but has come under the spotlight in recent years because of its sizeable tiger population.
The temple maintains that wild tigers have sought sanctuary in its compound and reproduced at the site, while critics point out that the temple is not a zoo and has no facilities to properly handle animals.
Last year, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) demanded the temple hand over its 147 tigers to authorities because it lacked permits to keep them.
Pol Colonel Supitpong Phakjarung, vice chair of the Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno Foundation and managing director of |Tiger Temple Company Ltd, said yesterday DNP chief Thanya Netithammakun had agreed to the company’s request for a zoo licence last Tuesday.
“We will construct facilities for the zoo over 25 rai [four hectares] of land. Construction should be completed in six months,” he said.