According to media reports Wednesday, wildlife authorities discovered 40 dead cubs in a freezer at Thailand’s controversial Tiger Temple amid an operation to remove felines from the sanctuary due to abuse allegations.
BBC reports, the Tiger Temple in Kachanburi province has been a favorite for tourists, who could pay to pat and take photographs with passive big cats.
However, the sanctuary has been dogged by allegations that the monks running the facility were breeding tigers for profit and selling animal parts. Monks and lay workers at the sanctuary have rejected the accusations.
Police Colonel Bandith Meungsukhum told AFP news agency that wildlife officials would file new criminal charges after the discovery, and added that the cubs were just one or two days old when they died.
He said it was not yet clear how long they had been dead.
The dead cubs “must be of some value for the temple”, Adisorn Nuchdamrong, from Thailand’s Department of National Parks, told Reuters news agency. “But for what is beyond me.”
Tiger bones and body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Monks at the temple were not available for comment but have previously denied trafficking allegations.
An official from Thailand’s Department of National Parks speculated to Reuters that “They must be of some value for the temple to keep them … But for what is beyond me.”