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`Missing cubs" as last tigers removed from Thai tiger temple

Jun 03. 2016
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Bangkok - Several new-born cubs appeared to be missing as wildlife authorities removed the last tigers from Thailand's Tiger Temple on Friday.
Several tigers showed signs of recently giving birth and nursing, an official told dpa.
"The temple did not register these new-born cubs with the correct authorities and we have not been able to find a trace of them at the temple," said Wildlife Conservation Office director Tuenchai Nuchdumrong.
A monk, a policeman and another man were caught attempting to flee the temple on Thursday with tiger skins, fangs and paws. 
At least 30 stillborn tiger cubs pickled in jars were also found, Tuenchai said Friday, in addition to the 40 dead cubs discovered in a freezer on Wednesday.
The last of the 130 tigers were being removed from the temple Friday and relocated temporarily to government wildlife sanctuaries in Ratchaburi province 100 kilometres west of Bangkok.
Animal welfare groups said the challenge was finding a long-term habitat for the tigers.
"We will try to work with the wildlife department in finding a permanent solution for these animals," said Edwin Wiek, head of the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand.
The United Nations Environment Programme said on Friday that the actions undertaken by Thai authorities were "commendable," but that more needs to be done.
The temple's tigers "represent only a tiny proportion of the enormous extent of an illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing the species to the brink of extinction," the statement said.
"Until the illegal trade in wildlife is stopped, we are only likely to see more of these types of situations."
- DPA

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