Thai Tiger Temple’s plan to become zoo rejected

Bangkok, Feb 27 (IANS) A Buddhist temple in Thailand which houses 147 tigers as a tourist attraction has failed in its bid to register itself as a zoo, the media reported on Saturday.

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, popularly known as the Tiger Temple, in Kanchanaburi province, had applied about two months ago to become registered as a zoo but wildlife authorities rejected its application, said temple lawyer Saiyood Pengboonchoo.

The temple has been illegally keeping and breeding tigers without a proper permit for several years, Efe news reported.

It has also been a source of controversy because of allegations it drugs the tigers to keep them calm around tourists and monks who touch them and pose for photos with them.

It is also allegedly part of the illegal trade in wild tigers.

The Tiger Temple’s application for a zoo permit comes amid recent changes there, including the transfer of five of its tigers to state custody last month, and five more on February 23.

Once authorities grant a permit to the temple it will buy back those tigers, the lawyer said.

Among the technical reasons for the application’s rejection were that its re-drafted blueprint missed the 60-day deadline, Saiyood said, adding the temple will re-submit the application soon.

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