PICS: 40 dead tiger cubs found in Thailand temple freezer

2016-06-01 12:48
Officials look at the remains of tiger cubs and a bear laid out at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand. (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, AP)

Officials look at the remains of tiger cubs and a bear laid out at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand. (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, AP)

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Bangkok – At least 40 dead tiger cubs, a dead bear and various animal horns have been found by wildlife officials on the grounds of Thailand's Tiger Temple, Thai officials say.

The bodies of the cubs and bear were found stored in the freezer where the temple kept food for the tigers, Adisorn Nuchdamrong, deputy director-general of the wildlife department, said on Wednesday. 

"The temple never registered these dead cubs, they are illegal," he said.

The discovery of dead animals proves that Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yanasampanno, popularly known as Tiger Temple, has been engaged in illegal breeding and smuggling activities, said Edwin Wiek, head of the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand.

"Under the CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species] treaty, no wildlife farm or sanctuary can engage in the breeding of protected species," Wiek told DPA news agency by phone.

"These animals were bred and hidden away. I believe that they were stored to be sold for parts on the black market."


The remains of tiger cubs are laid out at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok. (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, AP)

 (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, AP)

'Illegal breeding programmes'

Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has long accused the temple, a popular attraction where tourists can stroke and pose for photos with the big cats, of keeping the animals without a proper permit.

The temple has denied claims from conservationists that the monks carry out irresponsible breeding programmes, traffic endangered species and illegally sell the animals.

Thai authorities have removed dozens of tigers from a Buddhist temple that operated an admission-charging zoo after allegations of wildlife trafficking.

Teunjai Noochdumrong, director of Thailand's Wildlife Conservation Office, said on Tuesday that 40 out of 137 tigers were tranquilised and removed from the temple in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok.

"There was some resistance from the community, they didn't understand why we were taking them [the tigers] from the temple when they look so peaceful and fine at the temple," said Teunjai.

"We tried talking to them, explaining to them that the tigers belong to the country."

 (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, AP)


Read more on:    thailand  |  animals

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