A National Geographic investigation has uncovered evidence that the famous Tiger Temple is trafficking the beautiful animals.
The report says investigators believe a group of animal traffickers colluded with the Kanchanaburi temple, formerly known as Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno, to illegally take unregistered tigers to and from the temple since at least 2004.
But they botched a heist in December 2014 when they accidentally took three microchipped, registered tigers instead of unregistered ones, Nat Geo says.
“We obtained exclusive evidence from the conservation group Cee4life which they say shows that this Buddhist monastery is trafficking tigers into the illegal international wildlife trade,” says the narrator on the video, entitled “What happened to the three tigers that disappeared from Thailand’s Tiger Temple?”
“Meaning that the tiger you took a selfie with one day could end up dead and smuggled across the border the next.”
The controversial but popular tourist temple, which brings in US$3 million a year from tourists wanting to play with and take selfies with its 147 tigers, has long been accused of abusing and exploiting the animals.
The conservation group Cee4life (Conservation and Environmental Education for Life) has also passed its findings onto Thai authorities.
The Thai government is currently planning to relocate the tigers to state facilities.