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The bodies of 40 dead baby tigers found in the freezer of a Buddhist temple functioning as a zoo in Thailand

The discovery came as authorities were removing mostly live adult tigers from the temple following accusations that monks were involved in illegal herds.

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BANGKOK – Forty dead baby tigers were found on Wednesday in a freezer at a Buddhist temple that operated as a pay zoo, a national parks official said.

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The discovery came as authorities were removing mostly live adult tigers from the temple in western Kanchanaburi province following accusations that monks were involved in illegal herding and trafficking in animals.

The cubs were found in a freezer where temple staff kept food, said Anusorn Noochdumrong, a National Parks Department official who oversaw the transfer of the 137 tigers from the temple to shelters. Since Monday, 60 have been reassured and withdrawn.

Handout
Handout

“We don’t know why the temple decided to keep these little ones in the freezer,” Anusorn said. “We will collect these carcasses for DNA analysis. “

The cubs appeared to be up to a week old, he said. Authorities plan to press charges against the temple for illegal possession of endangered species, he said.

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CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP / Getty Images
CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP / Getty Images

The temple’s Facebook page said in March that the temple’s former vet decided in 2010 to stop cremating dead cubs soon after birth. Calls to the temple office were not answered.

The temple, a popular tourist attraction, has been criticized by animal rights activists over allegations it is not properly laid out to care for animals and has flouted regulations restricting the tiger trade.

Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation via AP
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation via AP

The monks have resisted previous attempts to remove the tigers, but relented this week after police obtained a court order.

The temple recently made arrangements to operate as a zoo, but the plan fell through when the government determined that the operators had failed to secure sufficient resources.


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