20 jars with preserved cubs found at Thai tiger temple
Bangkok, June 3 (IANS) Thai officials on Friday found 20 jars containing preserved tiger cubs during an ongoing raid at the controversial Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Buddhist monastery, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province.
Officers from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) found the jars holding some liquid and the cubs, EFE news reported.
Some jars reportedly contained only parts of tigers, for example eyes, and at least one jar contained parts of a bear.
Dozens of officials remained at the temple, which lies about 180 km northwest of Bangkok, and were still removing tigers after a force of 1,000 police, DNP and army officials raided the premises on Monday to begin the removal of 137 tigers.
About 10 tigers were seen taken away from the temple on Friday morning, and about 15 were spotted roaming the grounds.
The tigers will be relocated to government-run wildlife refuge centres, two of which are in Ratchaburi province, according to Tom Taylor, assistant director of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, who witnessed the raid on Monday.
The discovery of the preserved cats comes after tiger skins and amulets made from body parts, as well as 40 frozen cubs were found earlier this week at the monastery.
Though the temple was popular among tourists as a place where they could pet tigers and take selfies with them, it has for years been accused of collusion in the illegal wildlife trade, which temple authorities deny.
Some animal rights organisations have claimed the tigers appear sedated when interacting with tourists.