As mounting pressure on the speculation that Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as Tiger Temple, is involved with wildlife trafficking, Thai wildlife authorities raided the infamous temple.
The raid led to the shocking discovery. Wildlife officials discovered at least 40 dead tiger cubs, a dead bear and various animal horns inside the temple freezer.
The raid also led to the capture of more than 130 live and adult tigers at the tourist destination west of Bangkok.
Tiger Temple Guilty of Illegal Breeding
According to Edwin Wiek, head of the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand, the discovery of dead animals proves that Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yanasampanno had been engaged in illegal breeding and smuggling activities
In addition, Wiek said “Under the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) treaty, no wildlife farm or sanctuary can engage in the breeding of protected species.”
Tiger Temple Denies Allegations
The Wildlife Conservation Office said the tigers were being mistreated in the temple and monks carried out irresponsible breeding programs. However, the temple denied these allegations.
Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua’s representative Supitpong Pakdjarung denied the accusation and asserted that the cubs were kept in the freezer to prove they weren’t sold on the black market.
The temple also explained that low mortality rate for newborn cubs is common, and that those frozen cubs died for several reasons.
The temple is popular among tourists who pay around 100 dollars for the tour that includes picture taking and walking with the beasts.
Wildlife officials in the Southeast Asian nation began removing tigers from the custody of the temple earlier this week.
According to the report, 52 of the 137 tigers expected to live at the temple had been captured as of early Wednesday afternoon.
The tigers taken from the Tiger Temple are being moved to government sanctuaries.