LOS ANGELES, CA - The controversy surrounding Thailand's Tiger Temple, dogged for years by talk that it supplies the black market and mistreats its animal, exploded in full force last week when wildlife officers seized 137 big cats.
Many conservationists and animal rights activists have believed the temple's self-appointed mission to shelter tigers is misguided at best and that the tigers were mistreated to ensure their docility.
A court order was issued to transfer the tigers to various animal shelters after Thai police stopped a truck carrying two tiger skins and other animal parts, as it was leaving the Buddhist temple.
The temple is being accused of selling off these majestic animals for slaughter and selling them into the lucrative illegal wildlife trade. An adult tiger skin can fetch anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000, according to Steve Galster, the director of Freeland, an organization that fights wildlife trafficking.
The Department of National Parks has been overseeing the transfer of the temple's tigers to shelters. We hope these big cats find good homes far out of harm's way.