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Tiger Temple Raided for Suspected Wildlife Trafficking



Officers of Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of the forestry ministry carry a tranquilized tiger

Officers of Natural Resources Conservation Agency carry a tranquilized tiger


KANCHANABURI – Officials from Thailand’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment have raided Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, or Tiger Temple that is home to more than 100 tigers and are investigating suspected links to wildlife trafficking.

Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, or Tiger Temple, in Thailand’s western Kanchanaburi province, is popular with tourists who pet, cuddle and pose for selfies with the wild tigers that Animal Activists say are drugged.

The temple has been dogged for years by talk of links to wildlife trafficking and its maltreatment of tigers.

The temple bills itself as an animal sanctuary and tiger-breeding facility, and its abbot has denied animal cruelty and illegal trafficking.

Officials said at least 100 tigers had been impounded in raids this week and were being kept at the temple until authorities wind up their investigations. Thirty-eight hornbills, a bird species, were also seized.

Edwin Wiek, head of the Wildlife Friends Foundation disagrees with the Temples Abbot, Saying the temple keeps the tigers for profit and there is no evidence any of the animals have been rehabilitated to the wild.

“I absolutely disagree with these tiger temples,” Edwin Wiek said. “Tourists should realise that when they take a selfie with tiger or an elephant that a lot of animal cruelty is behind that picture.”

Edwin Wiek said Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand actually rehabilitates abused animals and then releases them into the wild.

Officials at the Luang Dta Bua Temple did not return a request for comment.

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