Eighty-six out of 147 tigers rescued from Thailand Tiger Temple where they served as a popular tourist attraction three years ago have died, authorities said Monday.
The cause of death was inbreeding, Department of National Parks (DNP), Wildlife and Plant Conservation Division said.
According to the Associated Press, DNP official Patarapol Maneeorn said the tigers were vulnerable to illness because of inbreeding, which leads to laryngeal paralysis, can cause respiratory failure.
Tiger Temple, formally known as Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampann, is located in western Thailand. The Buddhist temple was founded in 1994. It was a de facto zoo where tourists could take selfies with tigers and feed the cubs.
However, National Geographic and an Australian conservation nonprofit Cee4Life together exposed that the temple was involved in controversies of alleged animal mistreatment and wildlife trafficking.
In 2016, police and conservation officials decided to raid the temple and removed all the tigers.
According to the Associated Press, the authorities then found tiger skins and teeth, at least 1,500 amulets made from tiger bones and 60 cub carcasses stuffed in freezers and in formaldehyde in jars.
By Carol Kan