40 Dead Tiger Cubs Found in Freezer at Thai Buddhist Temple
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.
Priest is caught trying to flee Thailand's tiger temple with skins and fangs https://t.co/gm44CCAwCK https://t.co/Ld0ffvAQZr— Daily Mail Online (@Daily Mail Online)1464868498.0
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.
40 dead tiger cubs found in freezer at Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple https://t.co/VXOcyZKzZ3 https://t.co/YDME7XGGeC— TODAY (@TODAY)1464769141.0
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
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The 2020 hurricane season is now expected to be the most active since at least the early 1980s, meteorologists at Colorado State University, a standard bearer for seasonal hurricane predictions, announced Wednesday.
Three years ago, scientists predicted it would happen. Now, new NASA satellite imagery confirms it's true: two ice caps in Canada's Nunavut province have disappeared completely, providing more visual evidence of the rapid warming happening near the poles, as CTV News in Canada reported.
- Climate Explained: What the World Was Like the Last Time Carbon ... ›
- Polar Bears Could Be Nearly Gone by 2100, Study Finds - EcoWatch ›
- Greenland's Ice Sheet Is Melting at Rate That Surpasses Scientists ... ›
By Katell Ané
The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. It is the newest strategy under the European Green Deal, setting sustainability targets for farmers, consumers, and policymakers.
Facebook and Twitter removed posts by President Donald Trump and his campaign Wednesday for violating their policies against spreading false information about COVID-19.
- Rare Inflammatory Disease Linked to More Than 100 Childhood ... ›
- COVID-19: What Experts Think About Reopening Schools - EcoWatch ›
- Teens and Tweens Are Fastest COVID-19 Spreaders, New Study ... ›
- Researchers Are Creating a Drone to Study Wild Dolphins With Help ... ›
- These Whales Are Suffering a Slow-Motion Extinction - EcoWatch ›
By Alexander Freund
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says he believes Tuesday's explosion in Beirut could have been caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate stored in the port.
What Is Ammonium Nitrate?<p>Ammonium nitrate is a white crystalline salt that can be fairly cheaply produced from ammonia and nitric acid. It is soluble and often used as fertilizer, as nitrogen is needed for healthy plant development.</p><p>Ammonium nitrate in its pure form is not dangerous. It is, however, heat sensitive. At 32.2 degrees Celsius (89.96 degrees Fahrenheit), ammonium nitrate changes its atomic structure, which in turn changes its chemical properties.</p><p>When large quantities of ammonium nitrate are stored in one place, heat is generated. If the amount is sufficiently vast, it can cause the chemical to ignite. Once a temperature of 170 C is reached, ammonium nitrate starts breaking down, emitting nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. Any sudden ignition causes ammonium nitrate to decompose directly into water, nitrogen and oxygen, which explains the enormous explosive power of the salt.</p>
Deadly Disasters<p>As ammonium nitrate is a highly explosive chemical, many countries strictly regulate its use. Over the past 100 years, there have been several disasters involving the chemical.</p><p>In 1921, for example, a massive blast occurred at a BASF chemical plant in Ludwigshafen in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. About 400 metric tons of a mixture of ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate exploded, killing 559 people and injuring 1,977. The plant was largely destroyed in the blast, which could be heard as far away as Munich, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) distant.</p><p>In 2015, explosions caused by ammonium nitrate ripped through the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/china-convicts-dozens-for-last-years-giant-explosions-in-tianjin/a-36324321" target="_blank">Chinese port city of Tianjin</a>. Eight hundred metric tons of the chemical were said to have been stored along with other substances in a warehouse for hazardous materials. The blasts killed 173 people and destroyed an entire city district.</p><p>Two years earlier, in 2013, an ammonium nitrate explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company site in Texas, killing 14 people. And in 2001, 31 people died in Toulouse, France, in an explosion caused by the chemical.</p>
Terrorist Favorite<p>In Germany, the purchase and use of ammonium nitrate is regulated by the explosives act. This is because the cheap, highly explosive and relatively easily obtainable material has in the past been used by terrorists to carry out attacks.</p><p>For example, in 1995, U.S. conspiracy theorist and gun enthusiast Timothy McVeigh used a mixture of ammonium nitrate and other substances to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik also used ammonium nitrate in a car bomb attack in Oslo in 2011.</p>
- 5 Ways to Keep Unhealthy Nitrates and Nitrites Out of Your Body ... ›
- The Price of Our Fertilizer Addiction - EcoWatch ›
- 8 Disturbing Facts About Monsanto's Evil Twin—The Chemical ... ›
By Michelle D. Holmes
Most Americans know about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans primarily through their colorful representations: the original food pyramid, which a few years ago morphed into MyPlate. The guidelines represent the government mothering us to choose the healthiest vegetables, grains, sources of protein, and desserts, and to eat them in the healthiest portions.
As innocuous as the food pyramid and MyPlate seem, they are actually a matter of life and death.
- 6 Powerful Ways to Improve Mental Health - EcoWatch ›
- New, Improved Vegetarian and Vegan Food Pyramid - EcoWatch ›
- Dr. Mark Hyman: Here's How the Food Pyramid Should Look ... ›