Thailand: Two weeks ago, a wildlife trafficker was caught selling frozen tiger cubs in order to make a “healing glue”.
This week, however, The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's plan on raiding Kanchanaburi’s Tiger Temple with the intention of relocating a 100 big cats, turned out to be a morbid affair.
The wildlife authorities discovered the remains of 40 tiger cubs hidden in a freezer.
Observers on Twitter claimed that the dead cubs appeared to have been killed very recently. Furthermore, they were in a kitchen area at Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua in Sai Yok district, said Adisorn Noochdumrong, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, as per the Bangkok Post.
The authorities decided to raid the temple on suspicion of wildlife trafficking and animal abuse, owing to years of allegations against the temple monks.
Meanwhile, as reported by the Bangkok Post, the authorities are cluless about the intentions of the temple's actions, except that the tiger cubs held some value for them.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation decided to raid the kitchen facilities after receiving a tip about their gruesome act. As per the Bangkok Post, they also found the body of a Binturong, a protected species commonly known as a bearcat, and a number of dead wildlife organs.
The temple that has 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.
Officials on Wednesday also shifted another 12 tigers to the Khao Son and Khao Prathap Chang Wildlife breeding centres in Ratchaburi's Chom Bung district, bringing the total animal count to 52, since Monday.
There are 85 more tigers within the temple premises waiting to be moved.
Investigations for suspected links to wildlife trafficking and abuse have been carried out in the temple before. However, the raid that began on Monday, is the latest move in a tug-of-war since 2001 to bring the tigers under state control.