40 dead tiger cubs found in freezer at a Thai Buddhist temple

World Today

Forty dead tiger cubs, a bear and some horns have been found in a freezer during a police raid at a Thai Buddhist temple accused of wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.

Thai wildlife and security officials began raiding the Tiger Temple Monday, and are in the process of removing the 137 live tigers from the location. The tigers are being transported to three animal refuge centers in the country. Government officials expect the operation to last a whole week.

The Tiger Temple, also known as Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, is a popular tourist destination and promotes itself as a wildlife sanctuary. However, in recent years it has been investigated for wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.

CCTV’s Tony Cheng reported that the temple won its case to keep 150 tigers month:

Temple in Thailand wins case to keep 150 tigers

The Tiger Temple in Thailand's Kanchanaburi town has won a last minute reprieve to keep 150 tigers, after being threatened with closure last year.

Police said most of the cubs were only one or two days old when they died, and it was unclear how long they had been dead. The country’s wildlife officials said the discovery of the dead animals proves that the temple had been engaged in illegal breeding and smuggling activities.

In 2015, Cheng also reported on a probe of the temple following animal trafficking claims:

Thai officials probe animal trafficking claims

For many years controversy has surrounded the Tiger Temple in Thailand, where tourists are able to get within close proximity of the endangered beasts reared by monks in the temple grounds. Some have claimed the tigers are drugged to make them docile, while others say the unregulated breeding of tigers sets a dangerous precedent. Until recently, the Tiger Temple had been protected from investigation, but that now seems to have changed. CCTV's Tony Cheng filed this report from Kanchanaburi in western Thailand.

Tourists of the temple have been able to get within close proximity of the endangered beasts, which monks reared on the temple grounds. Some have claimed the tigers are drugged to make them docile, while others say the unregulated breeding of tigers sets a dangerous precedent.

 

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Story by CCTV News