Earlier this week, Thai authorities raided a monastery known internationally for its tiger residents, AFP reports. Instead of being the sanctuary, the Tiger Temple turns out to be a nest of abuse and wildlife abuse, authorities allege.
Nearly 1,000 officers participating in the raid over the last week have already seized dozens of the 137 tigers residing at the temple. Police also discovered the remains of at least 40 cubs in the monastery's freezers. What the remains are stored for is anyone's guess, but animal rights groups have accused the temple of turning a blind eye to trafficking the parts for use in Chinese medicine.
In their defense, the monks claim that the allegations are unfounded, and the discovery of the deceased cubs is simply a misunderstanding of temple practices when a cub is stillborn or dies shortly after birth.
Whatever lies ahead for the animals at the Tiger Temple, the future looks bleak for many wild animals, not just because of the inhumane treatment they receive from their caretakers, but the market that places a premium on them not as living creatures but as commodities. Traditional medicine and other consumer products not only China but across Asia put tigers and other species at risk of extinction due to poaching, as the demand for these products can devastate wild animal populations. In this list, we examine some of the animals most in danger.
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