More evidence of alleged illegal hunting found as officials ponder moving monastery out of the park
Forest rangers have found more evidence at the lodging in the compound of a forest monastery in Saiyok national park where the alleged hunting party led by the deputy district chief officer of Dan Makham Tia district spent a night on Saturday.
According to the Facebook page of the Phya Sua team of forest rangers on Tuesday, 12 items of evidence were found on two locations – Khao Ploo forest in Tambon Wang Krajae in Wang Yai national forest reserve, about 1.2 kilometres from the boundary of Saiyok national park and on the compound of Tao Dum monastery at Khao Ploo inside the Saiyok national park where the suspected hunting party spent their Saturday night.
The evidence found include 25 spent shells of 9mm ammunition and six .45 calibre spent shells, a torn plastic bag with blood stain, meat of what was believed to be a wild animal, animal bones and intestines, molar teeth of an animal, a wooden chopping board, a chopping knife, cooking pots and empty beer bottles.
All the items were collected and sent for tests in laboratory to find out whether the DNA on the items match with that of the carcass of a bearcat seized from one of the five vehicles used by the group in their travel into the park allegedly for illegal hunting.
Earlier on Sunday, forest rangers from the park seized two 9mm automatic pistols, one .22-calibre rifle equipped with a telescopic sight and a silencer, ammunition and two legs and two feet of what was believed to be those of a bearcat from one of the vehicles.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the deputy district chief officer of Dan Makham Tia district in Kanchanaburi, Mr Watcharachai Sameerak, and ten others of the alleged hunting party were today questioned by Saiyok district police.
Pol Col Thanee Sa-nguanchine, the district superintendent, said, after the interrogation, police would seek court’s warrant for their detention at the Kanchanaburi court’s detention facility pending further questioning.
However, the Kanchanaburi provincial court released all the 11 suspects on bail of 200,000 baht each.
It was reported that the Saiyok national park might ask the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation to remove Tao Dum monastery out of the park’s territory allegedly for breaking the conditions set by the park by allowing the alleged hunting party to spend the night at the monastery’s lodging.
Saiyok rangers, however, were not sure where exactly the group had camped out between the first shelter which is close to the living quarters of the forest monks and another shelter which is next to a creek.
The source said that the monks were living separately at another location about four kilometres away.