The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation yesterday dismissed a claim by the World Animal Protection Thailand (WAPT) that it has granted permission for the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi to reopen it’s zoo.
In its official complaint to the department, WAPT alleged that Tiger Temple or Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno was permitted to open a public zoo in April last year and to operate under the name of Tiger Temple Co Ltd.
It then asked the department to revise the zoo permit, voicing concern over the attempt to reopen Tiger Temple for tourism.
However the department director-general Mr Thanya Netithammakul denied the claim saying that Tiger Temple was permitted to build structures that will be used in zoo.
He said under the existing laws any juristic person which is qualified can apply for permit to build a public zoo if it has exact location.
The department will then appoint a committee to look through the application if it has required qualifications.
The zoo permit is valid for five years, he said.
In the case of Tiger Temple Co Ltd, he said the company has nothing in connection with the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno or Tiger Temple and the land which it planned as zoo is not in the temple area.
Instead it is a land which the company legally acquired.
But he said if the company wanted to bring in wild animals to the public zoo, it still needs to apply for permit from the department.
Building just cages is a normal process but if it wants to bring in wild animals such as tigers, bears or barking deers, to raise, then the department will screen it carefully if the zoo meets all required conditions such as landscaping, environment, separate cages for each kind of animals and cleanliness.
But he assured that the concern of the WAPT would be raised and considered if the company apply for the bringing of wild animals to raise.
He said the 147 tigers seized from Tiger Temple are now taken care of at Khao Pratapcharng and Khao Son wildlife nursery stations in Ratchaburi province.
He also added Tiger Temple Co Ltd is still constructing cages.