Police raid FantaSea over tiger cubs

KAMALA: About 20 officers from the Forestry Police Division, the Highway Police and the Tourist Police raided the FantaSea entertainment center in Kamala today and seized 14 tigers that had been transported there, allegedly without permission. Officers said that the tigers, most of them cubs aged three to six months, had been put on show for tourist photo sessions after being brought to Phuket from Bangkok. Laws covering the welfare of wildlife in Thailand require animals to be kept at one registered address – in this case, Safari World in Bangkok. The Deputy Superintendent of the Forestry Police Division, Pol Col Dhewan Mangkalachatikun, told the Gazette, “Phuket FantaSea doesn’t have a license to have wild animals in their possession. Safari World sent them the tigers.” For about two years young tiger cubs have been sent to FantaSea, he said, and as they grew older and larger, they were returned and replaced by other young cubs. Col Dhewan said that all 14 tigers would be seized by the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (NWPCD) but for the time being the animals were being left in cages at FantaSea. The colonel said that, as a registered public zoo, Safari World could have wild animals in their possession without individual licenses from the department. But the animals could not be transferred from the zoo. Officers are continuing investigations and charges are to be considered. The penalty for possessing wild animals without permission or for otherwise breaching the code ranges up to four years in jail, a 40,000 baht fine, or both. A spokesperson for Phuket FantaSea told the Gazette that the 14 tigers do have official licenses from Safari World in Bangkok. “We will present these documents to the officers soon,” said Sirikun Ammaramorn, Assistant Director of Public Relations at FantaSea. “Safari World transferred these tigers to us and we will now try to register as a public zoo,” she continued. “Before the NWPCD officers took the tigers, we didn’t know what to do. No one had told us before.”

Phuket News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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