Officials in Thailand found 40 dead tiger cubs at a Buddhist temple accused of animal abuse.
The dead cubs were discovered Wednesday in a freezer at the temple, west of Bangkok. Authorities found them while removing dozens of mostly full-grown live tigers from the temple grounds.
Officials said the cubs appeared to be about a week old. It was not known why they were in the freezer, where temple staff kept food.
Monks have been operating an unsanctioned zoo, called Tiger Temple. Tourists paid money to view and take pictures with the tigers and other exotic animals.
Wildlife groups say the animals were illegally bred and poorly treated. They also accuse the monks of making money by selling tiger parts used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Thai authorities plan to file charges against the temple for illegally possessing endangered species.
On its website, Tiger Temple said some tigers have to be tied up to protect visitors and other tigers because they sometimes wake in a “restless state.”
“People’s safety has to be our main concern,” it said.
The monks recently sought permission from the government to operate a zoo, according to the Associated Press. But the request was denied because the temple did not have proper resources to deal with the animals.
The monks resisted previous attempts to remove the tigers. But this time officials got a court order and the temple complied.
All of the temple’s 137 tigers are being transferred to various shelters in Thailand.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
VOANews.com reported this story. Additional material came from the Associated Press. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
unsanctioned – adj. not officially approved
breed – v. cause an animal to produce offspring
endangered species – n. – a species of animal or plant that is at risk of extinction
comply – v. to do what you have been asked or ordered to do