- but move is branded 'disgusting' by animal rights campaigners
- The zoo will be constructed over ten acres of land at famous Bangkok site
- Last year temple threatened with closure as animals didn't have permits
- Decision has been blasted by 'shocked and disgusted' wildlife foundation
The controversial Tiger Temple in Bangkok, Thailand could be allowed to keep its animals after it was granted permission to build a zoo, sparking outrage from a wildlife protection foundation.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has accepted plans put forward by Tiger Temple Limited for the construction of a private zoo, with the required licenses for the animals.
Last year the temple, which brings in around £2million from visiting tourists, was threatened with closure after it was discovered that many of the animals there didn't have a permit.
The famous Tiger Temple in Thailand may now be able to keep its animals after the government accepted proposals to construct a zoo and grant licenses
Workers were told at the time that their 147 tigers must be handed over to the DNP.
The investigation was launched following multiple complaints of trafficking endangered species, illegally selling animals and possible mistreatment of the animals. Ten tigers are believed to have been removed from the temple this year.
According to Coconuts Bangkok, the park's original zoo license expired in 2013.
The managing director of Tiger Temple Limited, Supitpong Phakjarung, told the Asian news-site: 'We will construct facilities for the zoo over 25 rai (ten acres) of land. Construction should be completed in six months.'
The site is a popular spot with tourists, who are encouraged to pet and pose with the tigers
Last year the government said that the tigers would be moved out of the zoo as they didn't have licenses
The Wildlife Friends Foundations Thailand (WFFT) have said the decision to grant the temple permission to construct a zoo has left them 'shocked and disgusted'
However the plans for the zoo have been blasted by the Wildlife Friends Foundations Thailand (WFFT), who wrote on their website that they were 'shocked and disgusted by this latest development of an ongoing sickening drama that has continued for so many years'.
The foundation states that 'numerous allegations of animal abuse and illegal wildlife trafficking by the Tiger Temple have been raised over the years since 2001'.
The temple began keeping tigers in 2001 when it agreed to take care of seven Bengal tigers seized in a wildlife bust nearby.
It now houses 147 tigers and cubs.
Tourists who visit the temple are pictured petting the tigers and posing for close-ups with the creatures, while their donations help pay for the tigers' maintenance and improvements to the temple.