Wildlife authorities in Thailand have begun removing tigers from a Buddhist temple, after accusations of wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.
Three of the 137 tigers at the temple in Kanchanaburi province were moved on Monday. The 1,000-personnel operation will last all week.
The monks, who deny all allegations, resisted at first but gave in when presented with a court order.
The tigers are being taken to animal refuges, authorities said.
The Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Tiger Temple, a popular tourist destination, has for years resisted official efforts to take away the animals.
Visitors are able to feed the animals and take photographs for a fee, despite the temple being banned from charging admission fees or money.
“We have a court warrant this time, unlike previous times when we only asked for the temple’s co-operation, which did not work,” Adisorn Nuchdamrong, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks told AFP.
Monks at the controversial temple have been accused of illegally breeding tigers and animal trafficking.
A previous raid in February 2015 revealed jackals, hornbills and Asian bears kept at the sanctuary without the necessary permits.