In pics | Thai officials start moving tigers from Buddhist temple

  • AP, Bangkok
  • Updated: May 31, 2016 12:39 IST
Wildlife officials sedate a tiger at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo)

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, said three tigers were tranquilised and transported on Monday in an operation involving about 1,000 state personnel that is expected to continue for a week.

The animals will be taken to three government animal refuges elsewhere in Thailand.

Wildlife officials carry a sedated tiger on a stretcher at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district. (AP Photo)

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 is not properly set up to care for the animals and flouted regulations restricting their trade.

A tiger yawns before officials start moving them from Thailand's controversial Tiger Temple. (Reuters Photo)

The monks resisted previous efforts to take away the tigers, and impeded the effort again on Monday morning despite the massive show of force by the authorities. They relented after police obtained a court order. More than 300 officials remained at the temple overnight to ensure the tigers remained safe.

The Tiger Temple is a popular tourist destination that has come under fire in recent years over the welfare of its big cats in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand. (Reuters Photo)

The temple recently made arrangements to operate as a zoo, but the plan fell through when the government determined that the operators failed to secure sufficient resources.

A Thai Buddhist monk gives water to a tiger from a bottle at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district. (AP File Photo)

Officials try to lead a tiger into a cage as they start moving tigers from Thailand's controversial temple. (Reuters Photo)

Thai wildlife officials load a cage containing a tiger onto a truck after they removed it from an enclosure at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province, western Thailand. (AFP Photo)

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