A veterinarian team tends to a wounded Bengal tiger Friday at a wildlife station in Lampang province.

LAMPANG — A team of veterinarians on Friday morning ruled out surgery for a wild tiger shot while foraging near an orchard in Lampang province.

The male Bengal tiger was found with seven gunshot wounds close to the Lampang-Tak Road on Monday. The director of a state-run zoo in Chiang Mai province who was part of the team caring for the tiger said he hopes to release it back to the wild after it fully recovers.

“The team is caring for him like he is their child,” Sarawut Srisakun of Chiang Mai Night Safari said by telephone.

The tiger was most likely wounded by a shotgun, but none of the seven pellets hit any vital organs, Sarawut said. An operation to remove the pellets was ruled out because doctors fear the surgery could end up damaging the tiger’s nerves, he added.


“The tiger will release the pellets from its body through abscesses,” Sarawut said.

The tiger is being held at a wildlife station in the Thoen district of Lampang. It will take “about six months” of recovery and rehabilitation before the big cat can be released back to the wild, Sarawut said.

Local authorities located the tiger on Monday after receiving reports from residents they heard it roaring in the woods at night.


Sarawut regretted that the tiger was likely shot out of fear by a local hunter or farmer; contrary to popular belief, he said, tigers usually avoid humans and would only attack if one turns their back.

“If you meet one in the forest, remember that it’s scared of us as much as we’re scared of it,” Sarawut said.

He advised those who encounter tigers in the woods to face the creatures and scare them off with arm movements instead of resorting to firearms.