40 dead tiger cubs found at Thailand’s Tiger Temple
*Warning: Graphic content to follow*
The bodies of 40 tiger cubs have been found in a freezer at Tiger Temple, a popular tourist destination in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok.
According to Reuters, Thai police and wildlife authorities started a 1,000 person operation on Monday to remove all living tigers from the Buddhist temple.
The controversial tourist attraction was home to 137 tigers. Since Monday, 52 live tigers have been moved to a state-owned sanctuary.
Photos taken at the scene show the 40 cubs laid out at the temple:
— Dario Pignatelli (@dariopignatelli) June 1, 2016
The 40 dead tiger cubs were found in a freezer in a kitchen area, said Adisorn Nuchdamrong, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks.
Nuchdamrong continued: "They must be of some value for the temple to keep them," he said. "But for what is beyond me."
The raid was sparked by complaints from visitors to the sanctuary that the animals appeared drugged during their visits and that the temple was trafficking in endangered species.
The temple is now being investigated for suspected links to animal trafficking and abuse.
The WWF has today issued a statement "applauding" the removal of the tigers, and encouraging the Thai government to permanently revoke their license to keep the animals.
Yowalak Thiarachow, Country Director, WWF-Thailand said:
"This week's actions to remove the tigers from the Tiger Temple are long overdue and we strongly encourage DNP (the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation) to make the removal of the tigers permanent."