40 tiger cubs found dead in Thai tiger temple


Bangkok: Thai wildlife authorities discovered 40 dead tiger cubs in Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple on Wednesday. The Buddhist temple in Kanchanaburi province west of Bangkok had become a tourist destination where visitors snapped selfies with bottle-fed cubs.

But the temple has been investigated for suspected links to wildlife trafficking and abuse. A raid that began on Monday is the latest move in a tug-of-war since 2001 to bring the tigers under state control. Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The 40 dead tiger cubs were found in a freezer in a kitchen area, said Adisorn Nuchdamrong, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks.

"They must be of some value for the temple to keep them," he said. "But for what is beyond me."

Officials have moved 52 live tigers from the temple since Monday, Adisorn said, leaving 85 still there.

Thailand has long been a hub for the illicit trafficking of wildlife and forest products, including ivory. Exotic birds, mammals and reptiles, some of them endangered species, can often be found on sale in markets.