Temple tigers died from prior diseases
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said on Monday that 86 tigers confiscated from a Kanchanaburi temple three years ago had since died of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and a respiratory disease caused by inbreeding.
DNP director-general, Thanya Netithammakul, told the media the tigers had viral infections even before being moved from Kanchanaburi's controversial Wat Phra Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno into DNP care.
The DNP seized 147 tigers from the temple three years ago and transported them to Ratchaburi. Eighty-five were sent to live in cages at the DNP Wildlife Reproduction Centre in Khao Pratab Chang, while the other 62 were sent to a facility at Khao Son Forest Wildlife Reproduction Centre.
Reports last week that 86 had died sparked accusations that the DNP had mishandled the situation. Over the weekend, blood tests at Mahidol University showed four of the 86 tigers were infected with CDV.
Patarapol Maneeorn, a DNP wildlife vet, told the Bangkok Post that most of the tigers were suffering nerve problems and laryngeal paralysis when they were discovered three years ago.
"The tigers at the temple were inbred. [So] they had poor physical condition and low immunity," he said.