Monks accused of illegally breeding, trafficking tigers

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Wildlife officials in Thailand remove tigers from temple after monks were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking. (WLS)

Wildlife officials in Thailand have been continuing an operation to remove the remaining tigers held at a Buddhist temple following accusations that the monks were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals, TPBS reports.

The temple in the western province of Kanchanaburi had 137 tigers in total.

Three were tranquilized and transported on Monday with another 17 reportedly moved on Tuesday before a temporary halt was called due to the hot weather.

The animals will be taken to three government animal refuges elsewhere in Thailand.

The temple, a popular money-earning tourist attraction, has been criticized by animal rights activists because of allegations it is not properly set up to care for the animals and flouted regulations restricting their trade.

The monks resisted previous efforts to take away the tigers, and impeded the effort again on Monday morning despite a massive show of force by the authorities.

They relented after police obtained a court order.

The temple recently made arrangements to operate as a zoo, but the plan fell through when the government determined that the operators failed to secure sufficient resources.
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