Temple to face charges over dead tigers

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At least 137 living tigers are being removed from the temple complex

Wildlife authorities in Thailand have said they will press charges against a Buddhist temple where the bodies of 40 dead tiger cubs were found.

The discovery came during a week-long effort to relocate 137 tigers from the tourist site in Kanchanaburi province.

The “Tiger Temple” operators have been accused of wildlife trafficking, animal abuse and illegally possessing carcasses and endangered species.

They deny all allegations and resisted previous attempts to remove the tigers.

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The cubs were found in a freezer in the temple’s kitchen along with the remains of other animals

The tiger cub corpses were found in a freezer at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple complex on Wednesday, along with body parts from other animals.

Police Col Bandith Meungsukhum told AFP the cubs would have been one or two days old, but it was not clear how long they had been dead.

They will be DNA tested to see whether they were related to other tigers at the site.

National parks official Adisorn Noochdumrong said a keeper had been “told to place the carcasses when they died in cold storage”.

He told AFP the temple operators could be charged with keeping the carcasses without permission.

The temple has previously said it decided in 2010 to stop cremating cubs which died soon after birth. It has always denied trafficking allegations.

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Thailand has long been a hub for the illegal trafficking of wildlife and forest products

Authorities started the operation to remove all 137 living tigers from the temple on Monday. Dozens have already been removed.

The site, west of Bangkok, is a popular tourist attraction, with visitors able to post for photos with the animals for a fee.

It has been closed to the public since the raid.

Animal activists and former workers have claimed the tigers are mistreated and kept in small concrete cages.

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