Tiger Park director shocked by Premchai poaching case

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The head of Tiger Park Pattaya says she was shocked to hear accusations that a Thai construction magnate poached a black panther.
The head of Tiger Park Pattaya says she was shocked to hear accusations that a Thai construction magnate poached a black panther.

The head of Tiger Park Pattaya says she was shocked to hear accusations that a Thai construction magnate poached a black panther.

Park Director Tippawan Prathumanee said March 12 that, as a lover of big cats, she was saddened to read stories accusing Italian-Thai Development PLC CEO Premchai Karnasuta of killing the protected animal at Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary in Kanchanaburi last month.

“Animals are part of this world, just like any human, and to see people hunting as a hobby or game is just sad,” Tippawan said.

Premchai, who also recently was charged with importing banned elephant tusks from Africa, denied poaching charges in his first interview with the media March 14. Investigation continues into the poaching allegation as well as claims he tried to bribe police to drop the case.

Social media users have excoriated both him and the Thai justice system, scoffing that because he is rich he will escape punishment.

Tippawan said she considers the 60 tigers under her care like family and, despite online claims that tigers in tourist attractions are exploited and abused, hers are treated like loved pets.

She said park visitors can only touch tigers 2 months to 4 years old and that the tourist attraction makes safety for both people and animals a top priority.