Thailand: Merely a day after The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation raided the Thai Tiger Temple and discovered remains of over 40 tiger cubs in the temple's kitchen freezer, a temple monk has reportedly been caught while trying to flee the premises with tiger skins and fangs.
These reports have further fuelled the accusations against the sanctuary of being involved in illegal wildlife trade.
The Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple in western Kanchanaburi province was raided yesterday by the wildlife authorities, after a tip-off that followed years of allegations against the temple for wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.
The Guardian quoted Adisorn Noochdumrong, deputy director of Thailand’s parks department, who said that, “Today we found tiger skins and amulets in a car which was trying to leave a temple.”
Adisorn further revealed that, several monks’ quarters were seiged, leading to the discovery of further body parts, bringing Thursday’s haul to two full-body tiger skins, about 10 fangs and dozens of pieces of tiger fur.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation primarily acted upon the court's orders to relocate a 100 big cats to bring the animals under state control.
As per the Guardian, 84 tigers have been removed so far this week and are being transfered to nearby breeding centres.
The authorities also found the body of a Binturong, a protected species commonly known as a bearcat, and a number of dead wildlife organs.
The temple monks who have been charged with the illegal possession of wildlife carcasses, are subject to a maximum penalty of four years in jail and a fine of 40,000 baht. It already faces a charge for having animals under protection, a criminal offence which serves the same punishment.