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Over Half of the 147 Siberian Tigers Seized from “Tiger Temple” are Dead

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More than half of the 147 tigers seized from a Kanchanaburi temple three years ago have died of laryngeal paralysis, which causes upper airway obstruction in the animals.

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BANGKOK – Wildlife officials have reported that 86 of the 147 tigers seized from Tiger Temple have died form laryngeal paralysis. The tigers were being kept at two wildlife breeding stations in Ratchaburi province.

Wildlife officials said that some of the tigers were suffering from Laryngeal tongue paralysis when they were first seized. Laryngeal paralysis, which causes upper airway obstruction in the animals.

The Tigers were captive bred Siberian tigers and, therefore, did not have natural immunity, rendering them susceptible to diseases. But last year, an official said in an interview the disease could have been caused by stress.

147 Tigers were Seized from Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Province

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation confiscated the tigers from the monastery, also known as Tiger Temple,in 2016.

The history of the notorious Tiger Temple dates back to 2001, when forestry officials seized seven tigers and asked Somchai Visetmongkolchai, a veterinarian, to be their custodian. He then asked monks at Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua in Kanchanaburi to help keep them.

The seven animals subsequently bred and their numbers rose to 148 in the following 15 years.

The temple, lacking resources to feed and care for the animals as they grew up, started accepting donations and tourists. Who petted and posed with the chained cats, raising criticism about animal mistreatment.

The Tigers Were Relocated to Wildlife Sanctuaries in Ratchaburi Province

The tigers were kept at the Khao Prathap Chang Wildlife Sanctuary and the Khao Son Wildlife Sanctuary both in Ratchaburi.

Suspicions were confirmed when tiger parts and carcasses were found with their organs removed or preserved at Tiger Temple. They were believed to be part of a wildlife trafficking ring.

The activities were exposed in an investigative report in National Geographic.

In 2016, wildlife officials took legal action against the temple and seized 147 large cats from it. Most of them were non-native Siberian tigers, which are not suitable for breeding here.

Tigers are a protected species under the 1992 wildlife conservation and protection law.

Source: Thai PBS, Bangkok Post

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