Did you just punish the tiger who killed the cow? “Professional craftsmanship” controversy in Thailand

“Meticulous skinning, ordinary cattle herders can’t… Precise shooting to the head”

National park rangers holding the hides of two Bengal tigers

[Piyarat Chongcharoen 제공/방콕포스트 캡처. 재판매 및 DB 금지] [2022.01.13 송고]

(Bangkok = Yonhap News) Correspondent Kim Nam-kwon = Interest in the ‘bizarre’ incident of killing and skinning a protected Bengal tiger and roasting its meat in a national park is continuing in Thailand.

The suspects claim that they only punished the tiger for eating the cattle raised by the villagers, but there are also suspicions that it is the ‘skills’ of a professional hunter.

According to local media such as Thai PBS and Bangkok Post, the fifth and last suspect in this case surrendered on the 14th.

The suspect, in his 60s, did not take part in the killing or skinning of the tiger, it was reported by police that he only went camping with four people who had already surrendered.

Four Thais in their 30s surrendered on the 13th after shooting and killing two Bengal tigers in Tongpapm National Park in western Kanchanaburi province, which borders Myanmar, and then skinned them and tried to roast the meat.

People living in villages within the national park claimed that when tigers frequently ate about 20 cattle raised by residents, they only killed the tigers to solve the problem and had no other intentions.

The village chief also said that they were not professional hunters and thought that they shot and killed a tiger in anger at a tiger that ate a cow raised by the villagers for a living.

However, a senior national park official spoke on the air that he was skeptical of the suspects’ claims that he was merely a herder and not a hunter.

The official said the two dead Bengal tigers were meticulously skinned, noting that this was to prevent damage to the hides and not the work of the cattle herders.

He also said that the bullets fired at the heads of the two animals were precisely aimed to do as little damage to the leather as possible.

A national park patrol inspects tiger meat being grilled over a campfire.
A national park patrol inspects tiger meat being grilled over a campfire.

[Piyarat Chongcharoen 제공/방콕포스트 캡처. 재판매 및 DB 금지] [2022.01.13 송고]

Undamaged tiger skins can be traded for up to 1 million baht, he added.

According to the national park, a male tiger was struck with two bullets in the head and one in its mouth, and the female was struck by four bullets at close range, the newspaper reported.

However, the senior official said he would await the results of police and the national park’s own investigation into whether the suspects had links to an illegal wildlife trade.

Police explained that the five people were charged with 10 counts, including violating the Wildlife Protection Act.

He also warned that killing wild animals and selling them illegally could result in severe punishment if caught.

Thai national park officials are examining confiscated tiger skins.
Thai national park officials are examining confiscated tiger skins.

[태국천연자원환경부 페이스북 캡처. 재판매 및 DB 금지]

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