Dead bodies of forty tiger cubs were discovered on Wednesday in a freezer at a Buddhist-temple that also functioned as an admission-charging zoo, a national parks official informed.
“The bodies were discovered in the freezer where the temple staff kept food”, said Anusom Noochdumrong, an official from the Department of National Parks who has been overseeing the transfer of the temple’s 137 tigers to shelters. Since Monday, 16 tigers have been tranquilized and removed. The discovery happened when the authorities were removing mostly matured-fully grown tigers from the temple in the Western Kanchanaburi province following accusations that the monks were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals.
It hasn’t been found as to why the cubs were kept in the freezer, DNA analysis is still pending. The cubs appeared to be up to a week old, and died soon after birth (assumptions until the post mortem reports). Authorities have decided to file charges against the temple for illegally possessing endangered species.
The temple, being a popular tourist attraction, has been illegally breeding and trading tigers. Animal Rights Activists have criticized the failed arrangements of the temple and also the improper functioning of health and care for the animals to ensure their survival. Facebook page said in March that the temple’s former vet had decided in 2010 to stop cremating cubs that died soon after birth. All the calls to the temple’s office were not answered.
The monks resisted prior efforts to take away the tigers, but had to give up after police obtained a court order this week.