Four cattle farmers, wanted by the police for allegedly killing two tigers in Thong Pha Phum national park in Thailand’s western province of Kanchanaburi, have explained that they shot the two big cats because they had killed several cows.
The four men, who claimed to be cattlemen, gave themselves up to police and national park officials at a pre-arranged location in Pilok sub-district. They were taken to Thong Pha Phum district police station for questioning.
The four suspects claimed that they had borrowed a shotgun from a defence volunteer and had their own muzzle-loading guns and a small calibre rifle to hunt tigers in the national park. They also took cattle carcasses, to be used as bait to lure the tigers into the open.
Park rangers, using sniffer dogs, launched a manhunt yesterday after they discovered a camp site in the park, the carcasses of two tiger, four guns and various camping items.
While searching the jungle camp site, one of the park officials received a phone call from a man, claiming to be a defence volunteer, asking for the return of his shotgun. Later, a local politician contacted park officials to inform them that the cattlemen wanted to surrender.
Tigers are a rare and protected species in Thailand. Hunting or possessing a tiger carcass or body parts is as an offence. Violators are liable to four years imprisonment and/or a fine of 40,000 baht on conviction.