An investigation by international animal welfare charity World Animal Protection (WAP) has exposed that Thailand’s controversial Tiger Temple Co. Ltd. is planning to reopen under the new name Golden Tiger (Thailand) Co. Ltd.
WAP is extremely concerned about these developments given the appalling circumstances and conditions that led to the closure of Tiger Temple and is calling for the Thai government to deny Golden Tiger a full zoo license to for its new venue.
Tiger Temple was once a well-known tourist attraction because of its large collection of tigers; it was recorded to have at least 147 tigers in 2016. After years of allegations of illegal breeding and trafficking of the tigers and their parts, in May of last year more than 500 officers from Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) raided the venue uncovering dead cubs in freezers alongside tiger skins, amulets and tiger teeth trinkets.
Golden Tiger is currently constructing a new venue in Kanchanaburi, west of Thailand, and was issued a provisional license by the DNP. However, a full zoo license will not be issued unless the facility meets 11 specified conditions within six months. These include enclosures deemed large enough for the tigers and veterinary care; however it fails to ban breeding or public interactions with the tigers.
Police investigations into the illegal wildlife trade allegations against Tiger Temple are still ongoing.