Over half of the 147 tigers confiscated from the Tiger Temple – a tourist attraction where visitors could take selfies with the big cats – have died in captivity in the past three years, local media reported.
Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua or Tiger Temple, located to the west of Bangkok, was a nature reserve that required visitors to interact with the animals.
Just three years ago, the government removed 147 tigers after the site was linked to wildlife trade.
Rescuers took the tigers to two state protected areas where, according to Sky News, there was a danger of becoming infected with the distemper virus.
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When we picked up the tigers, we found that they had no immune system due to inbreeding, the deputy Director Prakit Vongsrivattanakul of the Thai Ministry of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Protection (DNP) told the state broadcaster MCOT. "We treated her when symptoms appeared," he added.
Prakit did not give an exact figure of how many of the tigers died, although Thai PBS stated that 86 out of the 147 confiscated animals were the most affected. These were Siberian animals.
Many of the tigers have fallen dead one after another since May 2016, the Bangkok Post reported.
The Tiger Temple was promoted as a Wildlife Sanctuary, but was investigated on suspicion of the government for links to animal abuse and pet trade.
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Many of his monks were accused of illegally chastising tigers Visitors reported that some of the tigers appeared to be drugged, Sky News reported. The temple denied the allegation of abuse and trafficking.
During the raid three years ago, Thai officials reported finding 40 dead boys in a freezer along with 20 glasses full of tiger babies and organs. A monk was said to have attempted to flee the temple with a truck that had hidden over 700 vials of tiger skin and teeth in a suitcase.
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pretty shocked, "said Teunchai Noochdumrong, the director of the Government's Department of Natural Resources, in 2016." We have all heard concerns and allegations about this temple. I never thought they would be so blatant. "
The Siberian tiger is the largest of the tigers and is considered an endangered species whose survival risk includes poaching and habitat loss.