Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang (third from left) attends a ceremony to mark the start of construction of new shelters for abandoned dogs and cats at the Tiger Temple in Sai Yok district of Kanchanaburi on Saturday. Joining him were his wife Col Sirilak Khiaola-or (second from left), Kanchanaburi governor Jeerakiat Phumsawat (third from right), and Worasuda Sukharom, secretary to the House committee on tourism (second from right). (Photo by Piyarat Chongcharoen)
KANCHANABURI: Local authorities have started building facilities at the infamous Tiger Temple in Sai Yok district to care for about 1,200 stray dogs and cats from a foundation run by former Bangkok governor Chamlong Srimuang.
Kanchanaburi governor Jeerakiat Phumsawat and Maj Gen Chamlong, the adviser to the Animal Welfare Foundation, were among those participating in a ceremony to mark the start of construction on Saturday.
The temple, formally known as Wat Pa Luang Ta Mahabua, was once well-known for attracting tourists who came to interact with more than 100 captive tigers. However, an investigation in 2016 turned up suspected links to illegal wildlife trafficking. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation subsequently seized all the tigers there.
The new project is intended to take over the care of stray dogs and cats from the foundation as Maj Gen Chamlong, 84, and his wife, Col Sirilak Khiaola-or, who chairs the foundation, are elderly.
A 25-rai plot in the temple compound has been set aside for the facilities, construction and operation of which will be sponsored by local administration organisations in Kanchanaburi.ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads
Worasuda Sukharom, secretary to the House committee on tourism, said 15 shelters would be built for 1,000 dogs and 200 cats from the foundation’s facilities in Muang district of Kanchanaburi. The shelters will cost about 4 million baht and could be built in six months.
Animal show facilities and a dog and cat hospital would be built later to attract tourists and offer better care for the animals, she added.
The Animal Welfare Foundation in Kanchanaburi started taking in abandoned animals, especially dogs, from a shelter in the Thung Si Kan area of Don Muang district in Bangkok over two decades ago. Maj Gen Chamlong had originally developed the Thung Si Kan shelter to prevent stray dogs from being killed for rabies control when he was the governor of Bangkok.
As for the tigers that once lived at the temple, 86 of the 147 animals seized have died since being moved to wildlife sanctuaries three years ago. National parks officials said recently that most of the deaths were from viral and respiratory conditions that their weakened immune systems could not combat. The weakness in turn was the result of inbreeding at the temple, they said.