10 February 2015
A temple in Kanchanaburi is being investigated by Thai authorities following accusations of illegal wildlife trafficking. Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, better known to most tourists as the ‘Tiger Temple’, was raided last week following an anonymous tip-off. Wildlife officials are investigating allegations that the abbot of the temple bought endangered species for his private zoo. The Nation newspaper report that the abbot initially denied access to the officials, but had left the temple by the time the officials returned with a warrant the following day.
The Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi has been plagued with controversy over the years. The temple describes itself as an animal sanctuary, but there have been persistent allegations of animal cruelty and illegal trafficking at the facility which is located to the west of Bangkok. The Tiger Temple is popular with tourists who have the opportunity to pet the tigers and have their picture taken with them. The temple insist they are rehabilitating the animals for release, but conservation groups say the tigers are being kept for profit and there is no evidence of any tigers being rehabilitated to the wild.