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137 Tigers Evicted From Buddhist Temple

Monks caused 'mayhem,' Thai officials say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 31, 2016 1:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Wildlife officials in Thailand have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at a Buddhist temple following accusations that the monks were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals. The director of Thailand's Wildlife Conservation Office, Teunjai Noochdumrong, says three tigers were tranquilized and transported Monday in an operation involving about 1,000 state personnel that's expected to continue for a week. The animals will be taken to three government animal refuges elsewhere in Thailand. The temple, a popular money-earning tourist attraction in the western province of Kanchanaburi, has been criticized by animal rights activists because of allegations it's not properly set up to care for the animals and flouted regulations, the AP reports

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The monks resisted previous efforts to take away the tigers, and they impeded the effort again on Monday morning despite the massive show of force by the authorities. It was "mayhem," Noochdumrong tells CNN. "When our vet team arrived, there were tigers roaming around everywhere," he says. "Looks like the temple intentionally let these tigers out, trying to obstruct our work." The monks relented after police obtained a court order. More than 300 officials remained at the temple overnight to ensure the tigers remained safe. (This tiger was found roaming a residential neighborhood in Texas.)

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