>> Video released by Thailand's Wildlife Authority on Wednesday showing a gruesome discovery. The carcasses of 40 dead tiger cubs found in a freezer, the product of an investigation into wildlife trafficking and abuse. On Monday, officials raided the Buddhist sanctuary known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Province, west of Bangkok.
The tiger temple is a controversial site, charging tourists to walk among and pose with the great cats. Critics said the temple was rife with abuse, alleging the animals were chemically sedated and cruelly chained close to the ground. The temple put out a statement on its Facebook page, saying the cubs died for various reasons.
And that previously, the temple observed the Buddhist custom of cremating the dead. But in 2010, a former vet changed the policy and deceased cubs have since been frozen or preserved. The temple denied all allegations of trafficking and abuse, and worried the tigers will be worse off in state custody.
Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Tigers are an endangered species, and an international treaty bans commercial trafficking in live cats or their parts. A Thai wildlife official told Reuters authorities were shown the freezer with the dead cubs by foreign volunteers at the temple.