86 Tigers Rescued From Notorious Thai Temple In 2016 Have Died

86 Tigers Rescued From Notorious Thai Temple In 2016 Have Died

More than half of the rescued tigers from the Buddhist temple, Kanchanaburi, in Bangkok.

TRIGGER WARNING: Some of the images present in the story might be disturbing to some readers. 

More than half of 147 tigers that were rescued after being confiscated from Thailand’s infamous Tiger Temple about three year s ago have tragically passed away. The Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple, situated in the western province of Kanchanaburi was one of the most popular tourist attraction which allowed them to click closeup pictures with the fierce animals for a price reports The Guardian. However, this practice came to an end after park officials started removing these wild cats from these confines in 2016 after receiving allegations of animal trafficking, exploitation, and mismanagement. 


After searching the place thoroughly, officials discovered frozen corpses of several cubs which naturally supported the claims of being sold off by the temple in order to gain commercial benefit which allegedly went up to hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from the visitors. And in May 2016, the Thailand Wildlife Conservation Office found 40 frozen bodies of cubs, where some were kept for more than five years reports, The Thaiger. According to reports, tiger parts are in great demand in  China and Vietnam due to a false belief that they have many medicinal properties.


Now, the surviving adult tigers were relocated to two breeding stations in the neighboring Ratchaburi province, where only 61 out of 147 are alive now said the parks officials. According to the outlet, a Thai PBS source informed how a few of these relocated tigers were then diagnosed with suffering from Laryngeal tongue paralysis when they were first placed in Khao Pratab Chang wildlife breeding station in Ratchaburi province from Luangta Bua Yannasampanno forest monastery in Kanchanaburi province, in June 2016.


The insider further mentioned that most of these confiscated tigers were actually Siberian tigers from the forest monastery that were bred in captivity. As a result, their natural immune system was extremely weak, making them susceptible to disease. Pattarapol Maneeon from the department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation believed their untimely deaths to be an aftermath of their former breeding. "It could be linked to inbreeding," he said adding, "They had genetic problems which posed risks to body and immune systems."


"Most of the tigers were already in a distressed state stemming from the transportation and change of location … later their health problems emerged," revealed another department official, Sunthorn Chaiwattana. Furthermore, the source goes on to explain the possible reason behind the death of these tigers. He starts by revealing how 52 of the dead tigers were kept in Khao Pratab Chang, where a total of 85 were being raised. And 32 others die while in a breeding station in Khao Son which is also situated in Ratchaburi province. 


He further explains how the ferocious creatures' death was not a sudden affair as all of them didn't die at the same time. They had become very weak from living their stressful lives in captivity. And with time their health kept deteriorating which ultimately resulted in their deaths. The inside also shed light on the fact that captive tigers eventually lose their wild instinct and slowly develop stress notwithstanding how could their living conditions are or how well they are being fed. 


However, conservationists have been questioning authorities if they had looked after them properly after confiscating them from small, cramped cages, which could have easily facilitated the disease to spread. The founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, Edwin Wiek said, "To be very honest, who would be ready to take in so many tigers at once?" He also added how the conditions of the enclosers were "not good enough to house so many tigers and the setup was wrong."


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