Concern mounts as ‘new’ Tiger Temple venue takes shape

20 March 2017

Animal welfare experts are concerned that the ‘new’ Tiger Temple venue by Golden Tiger (Thailand) Co in Kachanaburu, Thailand, is ploughing ahead.

Recent photos show construction of small, old fashioned tiger cages across 4 hectares of land raising fear that the new wildlife tourist attraction will open within weeks.

World Animal Protection is calling for the Thai government to not allow this ‘new’ venue to open amid concerns that the tigers acquired for this new venue will be trapped in lives of suffering to supply the demand for cruel tourist shows and selfies. 

Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach, senior wildlife and veterinary advisor at World Animal Protection says: “The construction of the ‘new’ tiger venue is well on its way. We are concerned that the old fashioned ‘row of cages’ is very inadequate for the housing of tigers.

“We fear that the inhumane treatment and conditions of the tigers in this new venue will be no different to those at the former Tiger Temple, which was involved in cruelty and illegal wildlife trade practices. This is why we are calling for the DNP to not allow the new venue to open.

“With the new venue underway, it feels like the award of a zoo licence is being seen as a fait accompli. We must remember the reasons why Tiger Temple was closed. The risk to these tigers being illegally trafficked, bred for profit and exposed to more horrific cruelty, is immense.”

The Tiger Temple was raided by police and shut down last year following allegations of illegal breeding and trafficking of tigers and their parts, which are still under investigation. Until these investigations are complete, the charity wants to ensure a new venue does not open.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has publicly commented about the ‘new’ venue, claiming everything is above board:

The zoo licence was granted on legal regulations and it permits the Golden Tiger Co. Ltd to build a venue.
Once the venue is built and if the company meets 11 additional requirements, Golden Tiger Co. Ltd can acquire tigers for the venue.
The Golden Tiger (Thailand) Co. Ltd. has no links with the previous Tiger Temple attraction.

World Animal Protection refutes the last statement, saying there are clear links, which should be prompting the government to be cautious because the Tiger Temple Limited and Golden Tiger (Thailand) Limited are the same entity regardless of a change of name, director or shareholders.

Records obtained from the Department of Business Development show that on 3 February 2017:

The Tiger Temple Co Ltd changed their name to the Golden Tiger Co Ltd, and kept the same registration ID and zoo license provided last year by the DNP
The registration number of the Tiger Temple Limited Co is 0105549034793 and office address, No. 69 Moo 5, Sing Sub-district, Saiyok District, Kanchanaburi Province is the exact same company registration number and address of the Golden Tiger Co, Ltd

We are urging the government to take a closer look and stand alongside us to protect tigers from any harm. A petition was launched on 1 March 2017 and has been collecting signatures from across the world asking DNP to not allow the ‘new’ venue to open. 

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

For media interviews, contact Kai Akram kaiakram@worldanimalprotection.org +44 (0) 7939 029 006.

On 03 February 2017, a request for a name change from Tiger Temple Co Ltd to Golden Tiger Co Ltd was granted by the Department of Business Development, Ministry of Commerce Thailand. This name change means that the provisional zoo license has been transferred to Golden Tiger Co Ltd and now this ‘new company’ must meet the11 conditions provided originally before the license is made valid.

 

Evidence collected by World Animal Protection:

The Tiger Temple was jointly operated by the temple, Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua and Tiger Temple Co. Ltd.
Document: Tiger Temple Co Ltd name change to Golden Tiger (Thailand) Co Ltd (please let me know if you need this copy – shareholder names are blacked out).

We are unable to reveal the names of the shareholders for legal reasons but you can find out more info at the Department of Business Development in Thailand http://www.dbd.go.th/Applications/cds/

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