Controversial 'Tiger Temple' to reopen as zoo in Thailand

Warning: This article contains content that some readers may find distressing. 

There are accusations the monks were illegally breeding and trafficking endangered animals. Source: Getty

Thailand's controversial 'Tiger Temple' is set to reopen this month as a zoo, importing 24 new tigers after it was shut down two years ago. 

A tiger (File picture). Source:

Adisorn Noochdamrong of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation told Thai news publication Khaosod: "They're registered as a zoo now, not just having animals in the temple like before. It will be legal, because our department can control it by law directly."

Despite being shut down in 2016, it is said to have continued operating. 

The new tigers are said to be imported from Bangkok's Mallika Tiger Zoo.

Thai DNP officers collect samples for DNA testing from the carcasses of 40 tiger cubs found undeclared at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Tiger Temple. Source: Getty

National Geographic reported the Tiger Temple is not legally connected to the new zoo, and the company changed its name from Tiger Temple Co. Ltd to Golden Tiger (Thailand) Co. Ltd in February last year. 

It comes after dead tiger cubs were found undeclared at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Tiger Temple in 2016. 

Over 140 tigers were taken from the Tiger Temple, with energy drinks containing tiger contents and cubs kept in jars also being found, according to Khaosod. 

The director of Thailand's Wildlife Conservation Office, Teunjai Noochdumrong, told Associated Press in 2016 that 40 tigers were tranquilised and removed in two days.

Tourists were able to pat and take photos with the tigers at the Tiger Temple.