Quantcast

40 Dead Tiger Cubs Found in Freezer at Thai Buddhist Temple

Animals

A day after Thai officials found the bodies of 40 tiger cubs frozen in a freezer inside the country's infamous tiger temple, more disturbing news has emerged from the Buddhist monastery.

Three Buddhist monks and two devotees of the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple, located in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province, were charged under wildlife laws Thursday after one monk was caught trying to smuggle tiger skins and charms made from tiger parts out of the temple, Reuters reported.

“Today we found tigers skins and amulets in a car which was trying to leave a temple,” Adisorn Nuchdamrong, the deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks, said.

According to The Guardian, tiger body parts, including two full-body tiger skins, about 10 fangs and dozens of pieces of tiger fur were found after authorities searched several monks’ quarters.

They also uncovered 20 glass jars containing baby tigers and tiger organs in the temple's "laboratory," prompting suspicions that the tiger parts are being used to make traditional Chinese medicine on site as a side business.

"The jars have labels, so I think they've made medicine here," Adisorn told Reuters. "We will discover more as we search on."

Following the discovery, the Foreign Department posted a message on the temple's Facebook page:

The recent discovery of the tiger skins and necklaces comes as a shock to us as well as the rest of the world. We are disgusted at this discovery and we don't condone this. We are looking forward to the authorities bringing the culprits to justice.

The temple, which promotes itself as a wildlife sanctuary for the endangered animals, has become a well-known tourist trap in which visitors pay roughly $20 to take tiger selfies and bottle feed cubs.

Following longstanding allegations from animal rights groups against the temple—such as abuse of the tigers, sedating the predators with drugs to make them more docile to breeding the prized species for illicit wildlife trafficking—Thai officials took action with a court order and a 1,000-strong police raid.

Earlier this week, authorities raided the temple and confiscated at least 40 of the temple's 137 captive tigers and took them to a government wildlife sanctuary. Then on Wednesday, authorities discovered 40 dead tiger cubs in a freezer.

Staff at the temple have long denied any wrongdoing.

Workers posted a statement on Facebook to hit back the numerous allegations:

There are rumours and allegations constantly being spread on the internet about Tiger Temple. For years many were left unanswered, as the Buddhist way is to keep silent and not engage a fight. However now with a lot more focus on the Temple, it is time to respond. There have been a lot of recent posts about missing tiger cubs which accuse Tiger Temple of selling them to the black market. This is not true. The general mortality rate of captive newborn tiger cubs has by some researchers been documented to be as high as 40%; the temple mortality rate is therefore comparatively low. However as happens in life, cubs do occasionally die for various reasons, most often when a new mother lacks the experience to properly care for them. In the past, as per Buddhist customs, these tiger cubs were cremated.

In 2010, the ex-vet of Tiger Temple changed this policy. Instead of cremation, the deceased cubs were preserved in jars or kept frozen. We have documented all the deaths from 2010 and have photographic evidence of them still being within the Temple.

By Thursday, the Department of National Parks had confiscated a total of 84 tigers from the temple and relocated them to  government animal shelters elsewhere, Reuters reported.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

Leading Primatologist Weighs in on Controversy Surrounding Shooting and Killing of Harambe

Rare Gorilla Shot Dead After 4-Year-Old Boy Slips Into Animal’s Enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo

They’re Back: 17-Year Cicadas to Blanket Northeastern U.S.

Could Pixar’s ‘Finding Dory’ Have an Adverse Effect on Coral Reefs?

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A dire new report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) found that the climate crisis is on a worrying trajectory as the crisis's hallmarks — sea level rise, ice loss and extreme weather — all increased over the last five years, which will end as the warmest five-year period on record.

Read More Show Less
Line of soldiers walking. Pexels

By Peter Gleick

War is a miserable thing. It kills and maims soldiers and civilians. It destroys infrastructure, cultures and communities. It worsens poverty and development challenges. And it damages and cripples vital ecological and environmental resources.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
People take part in a ceremony to mark the 'death' of the Pizol glacier on Sept. 22. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

Hundreds of activists gathered in the Swiss Alps on Sunday to mourn the loss of Pizol, a glacier that has steadily retreated over the last decade as temperatures have warmed the mountain tops, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Luis Alfonso de Alba Gongora, the UN secretary-general's special envoy for the climate summit speaks at The World Economic Forum holds the Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2018 in New York on Sept. 24, 2018. Ben Hider / World Economic Forum

By Howard LaFranchi

When United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decided to hold a high-level climate summit in conjunction with this year's General Assembly kicking off next week, he was well aware of the paradox of his initiative.

Read More Show Less
Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan meets with Guatemalan farmers on May 29 in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. John Moore / Getty Images

The Trump administration ignored its own evidence on how climate change is impacting migration and food security when setting new policies for cutting aid to Central America, NBC reports.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mike Pence brought the first motorcade to Mackinac Island on Saturday. Cars have been banned on the island since 1898. 13 ON YOUR SIDE / YouTube screenshot

Vice President Mike Pence sparked outrage on social media Saturday when he traveled in the first-ever motorcade to drive down the streets of Michigan's car-free Mackinac Island, HuffPost reported.

Read More Show Less
Inhaling from an electronic cigarette. 6okean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Shawn Radcliffe

  • As illnesses and deaths linked to vaping continue to rise, health officials urge people to stop using e-cigarettes.
  • Officials report 8 deaths have been linked to lung illnesses related to vaping.
  • Vitamin E acetate is one compound officials are investigating as a potential cause for the outbreak.
The number of vaping-related illnesses has grown to 530 cases in 38 states and 1 U.S. territory, federal health officials reported.
Read More Show Less
Activist Greta Thunberg leads the Youth Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 in New York City. Roy Rochlin / WireImage / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

As organizers behind Friday's Global Climate Strike reported that four million children and adults attended marches and rallies all over the world — making it the biggest climate protest ever — they assured leaders who have been reticent to take bold climate action that the campaigners' work is far from over.

Read More Show Less