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Officials seize tigers from Thai temple

Do Not UseDo Not Use 31/05/2016
Veterinarians prepare anaesthetic syringes as they prepare to remove tigers from an enclosure at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Tiger Temple: Anaesthetic syringes were prepared by veterinarians as they got ready to remove the tigers from an enclosure © AFP Anaesthetic syringes were prepared by veterinarians as they got ready to remove the tigers from an enclosure

Wildlife authorities in Thailand have begun removing tigers from a Buddhist temple, after accusations of wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.

Thai wildlife officials carry a tiger on a stretcher as they remove it from an enclosure after it was anaesthetised: Wildlife officials carried the tigers on stretchers after they were anesthetised © AFP Wildlife officials carried the tigers on stretchers after they were anesthetised

Three of the 137 tigers at the temple in Kanchanaburi province were moved on Monday. The 1,000-personnel operation will last all week.

A sedated tiger is seen in a cage as officials start moving tigers from Thailand"s controversial Tiger Temple: The animals will be taken to three government animal refuges across Thailand © Reuters The animals will be taken to three government animal refuges across Thailand

The monks, who deny all allegations, resisted at first but gave in when presented with a court order.

Thai wildlife officials use a tunnel of cages to capture a tiger and remove it from an enclosure at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province: The temple recently made plans to operate as a zoo, but proved unsuccessful when the government determined that the operators failed to secure sufficient resources © AFP The temple recently made plans to operate as a zoo, but proved unsuccessful when the government determined that the operators failed to secure sufficient resources

The tigers are being taken to animal refuges, authorities said.

A tiger yawns before the officials start moving them from Thailand"s controversial Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province: Animals rights groups accused the temple of being involved in the black-market animal trade © Reuters Animals rights groups accused the temple of being involved in the black-market animal trade

The Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Tiger Temple, a popular tourist destination, has for years resisted official efforts to take away the animals.

Visitors are able to feed the animals and take photographs for a fee, despite the temple being banned from charging admission fees or money.

"We have a court warrant this time, unlike previous times when we only asked for the temple's co-operation, which did not work," Adisorn Nuchdamrong, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks told AFP.

Monks at the controversial temple have been accused of illegally breeding tigers and animal trafficking.

A previous raid in February 2015 revealed jackals, hornbills and Asian bears kept at the sanctuary without the necessary permits.

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