Thai temple: Truck carrying two tiger skins and other animal parts held

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Bangkok, June 3: On Thursday, Thai police stopped a truck carrying two Tiger skins and other animal parts as it was leaving the temple. The temple has been the centre of controversy as wildlife activists alleged that illegal animal smuggling were happening here.

Soon after, a raid was conducted where the authorities found 20 jars containing preserved young Tigers at the temple. This happened just a day after 40 dead Tiger cubs were found in a freezer at the temple.

Thailand

The discoveries came after authorities were transferring 137 live Tigers mostly adults, from the temple to animal shelters after obtaining a court order.

Located in Kanchanaburi province, in western Thailand, the temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions here. Tourists are charged for spending time with Tigers here, feeding or bathing them. Animal Rights activist, meanwhile said that the temple and the surrounding park are not properly set up to care for the animals and flouted regulations restricting the trade of Tigers.

wo men carrying the Tiger skin were arrested and charged with the possession of illegal wildlife. Police col. Bandith Meungsukhum said that a monk travelling with the truck will soon be arrested once he is defrocked. The truck was also holding 700 vials of Tiger skin and many Tiger teeth hidden in a suitcase. Such vials are considered good luck charms.

The young Tigers preserved in the jars were found in the vet's office at the temple, said an official from the Department of National Parks who has been overseeing the transfer of the temple's tigers to shelters.

An adult Tiger can fetch between $6,000 to $10,000, as per Steve Galster, who is the director of Freeland, the organization that fights wildlife trafficking. The monks resisted the taking away of Tigers, but relented this week when a court order was produced.

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