Breaking his long silence since the raid in June of the Tiger Temple or Luangta Bua Yannasampanno monastery in Kanchanaburi, Phra Visuthisarathera, the temple abbot, told the media on Friday that he was caught totally unprepared about the raid and its consequences.
However, the abbot who was commonly known as Luangta Chan said he was trying to accept the consequences and would let the law to run its course regarding the pending legal actions against him and his monastery.
About 140 tigers in the monastery which was a popular tourist destination before the raid by police and forestry officials in June have been removed from the temple ground, leaving behind hundreds of other animals such as deer, barking deer, wild boar and cattle under the care of the temple officials and some foreign volunteers.
Luangta Chan said that he had to take care of the remaining animals and this requires a lot of food each day which is partially funded with public donations.
He insisted on the intention to apply for a license to open an open zoo on the ground of his monastery. Also, he said that he would ask for the return of five crippled tigers from authorities so they could be raised in the monastery.
Without the tigers who have earned the monastery its namesake, the Tiger Temple, the venue has become quiet and rarely visited by tourists although some officials and volunteers remain to take care of the remaining animals.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)