Dead tiger cubs are displayed by Thai officials after they were found during a raid on the controversial Tiger Temple
Dead tiger cubs are displayed by Thai officials after they were found during a raid on the controversial Tiger Temple, a popular tourist destination which has come under fire in recent years over the welfare of its big cats, in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand June 1, 2016.Daily News/via REUTERS

Thailand's wildlife authorities on Wednesday recovered bodies of at least 40 tiger cubs from a freezer at the controversial Buddhist temple in Kanchanaburi province. They found the bodies while conducting a raid at the temple, which has been accused of wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.

Dario Pignatell, a journalist from Bangkok, was reportedly the first person to post the picture of the bodies on Twitter. 

The bodies were found in the freezer kept in the kitchen area of the temple, Reuters quoted Adisorn Nuchdamrong, the deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks, as saying.

"They must be of some value for the temple to keep them. But for what is beyond me," he said.

Besides the bodies of the tiger cubs, the wildlife authorities recovered body parts of other animals as well, Thai news daily Khaosod English reported. A journalist with Khaosod said he saw animal intestines in containers, stacks of deer horns, a dead boar and a bull's skull at the temple.

"This is abnormal. We will find out who's responsible for the cubs," Khaosod quoted wildlife official Yanyong Lekavichit, who was handling the raid at the temple, as saying. The raid to rescue all the living tigers from the temple began on Monday.

Wildlife authorities have so far removed 52 live tigers from the temple, famously known as Tiger Temple, and 85 of them are yet to be rescued.

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