Bangkok, THAILAND, 23 December 2016
The Abbot of the infamous Tiger Temple Thailand, Phra Acham Phoosit (Chan) Kanthitharo, will face charges of illegal wildlife trafficking tigers in 2017 after the Department of National Parks Thailand discovered the DNA of dead tiger cubs found in the grounds of Tiger Temple during confiscations in June 2016, did not match any DNA of living and present tigers within the Tiger Temple.
Six of the cubs had no match-able DNA while another 15 dead tiger cubs matched only one present living parent from the Tiger Temple.
The Abbot is identified as the prime suspect involved in illegal tiger trafficking, and the secondary suspects are committee members.
As these charges come to light, the Tiger Temple is attempting to purchase 100+ tigers from a zoo in Nakhon Nayok province in Thailand.
Sybelle Foxcroft, Director of Australian NGO, Conservation and Environmental Education 4 Life – Cee4life, [who released the 9 year investigative report,”Tiger Temple Report”] stated, “It is no surprise that these cubs have unidentifiable DNA. Throughout our investigations numerous witness’s, including Cee4life investigators, saw cubs born and then disappear, and new cubs arrive in the middle of the night”.
Foxcroft continued, “Any attempt by anyone associated with Tiger Temple to gain access or house tigers again must be refused. They have shown themselves to be completely untrustworthy of having these critically endangered species within their grasp. It would be a tragic mistake and severe injustice to allow them [Tiger Temple and associates] to be anywhere near any animal, especially those used in traditional medicines or demand for fur and body parts, ever again.”
While it seems outrageous that people suspected of illegal tiger trafficking and possession could obtain more tigers, it is a possibility due to the separate business’s created by the Tiger Temple.
Foxcroft explained, “These “business’s” have been set up as separate entities, apart from the Tiger Temple itself. Therefore these “business’s” were not linked to Tiger Temple on paper or the circumstances surrounding it now. This is how they obtained a zoo licence in April 2016. However, if the committee of the new “business’s”can be proven to be linked to tiger trafficking, then the zoo licence will be revoked immediately. “
In January 2016, Cee4life, released “The Tiger Temple Report”, which was the culmination of a grueling nine year investigation into the Tiger Temple’s activities. The report contains abundant and shocking evidence of trafficking, clandestine operations and the removal of tigers, physical abuse, over-breeding and the evidence showing there should be 281 tigers from Tiger Temple, not 147. See report – http://www.cee4life.org/the-tiger-temple-report/
Part of the evidence contained within the report is the recorded conversations between the Abbot, the ex Tiger Temple Veterinarian and the ex Tiger Temple lawyer. One specific conversation, regarding the three missing tigers of December 2014, has the Abbot alluding to the fact that its his and Tiger Temples “policy” that outgoing tigers are not alive before being transported onward from the temple. But there is more evidence that the public has yet to hear.
Foxcroft states, “We have about 8+ hours of recordings and only partial critical evidence was released to the public. The full recordings contain some powerful evidence on the running of these business’s and how the profit would be handled. All of this evidence was given to the DNP in December 2015. It is very very useful, to say the least, for this case.”
“How this case is handled will set a precedent in Thailand for all other venues using tigers for tourism. There are very good people within the DNP and Royal Thai Police. Although this case is complex and controversial I believe that they will do their very best to ensure that justice is done.”
Cee4life also worked with National Geographic to expose illegal activities occurring within the Tiger Temple. See exclusive report – http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/160121-tiger-temple-thailand-trafficking-laos0/