Thailand, Laos tracking down another 30 smuggled tiger cubs
Thailand has turned to Laos to help find another 30 tiger cubs that are believed to have been trafficked across the border.
The neighbouring country helped rescue four tiger cubs last month.
Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, director of the National Park Conservation Area Administration Office 9 in Ubon Ratchathani, said on Sunday that his office and its Laos counterpart were working to track down the new shipment of cubs.
He reckons the cubs will be sneaked back into Thailand to be sold to illegal eateries providing exotic meat.
The official was speaking to reporters as he led them to check out the four tiger cubs rescued last month.
Visitors to the park office can check out the cubs until Monday.
The four cubs, named Kham Khong (across the Mekong), Kham Daen (across the border), Savan (after Savannakhet) and Mukda (after Mukdahan), are believed to have been smuggled from a tiger farm in Thailand to accomplices in Laos.
They were then smuggled back to be sold to undercover park officials in Mukdahan mid-last month. The officials had offered to buy the four cubs, who were two-months old then, for 1.5 million baht.
Chaiwat said the cubs were weak with malnutrition when rescued, but are now in good health and weigh over 7 kilos each. They are being tended to by a team of veterinarians, who give them a meal of meat and milk once a day.
The couple who sold the tiger cubs are in detention and awaiting legal action.
Apart from the tiger cubs, the park has also rescued a slow loris that had been abandoned by its owner. The slow loris had climbed up a power pole and burned its arms and legs from the high voltage. Vets had to amputate the animal’s limbs to save its life, he said.
Chaiwat told reporters that his office was also waiting for DNA results to see if the cubs came from any Thai farms. If there is a match, then legal action will be taken against the farm, he added.
He said if the 30 other smuggled cubs are found, they will also undergo DNA tests so their source can be determined and legal action taken.