RELIGION

Thai wildlife officials start removing tigers from temple

  • FILE - In this Feb, 12, 2015 file photo a Thai Buddhist monk gives water to a tiger from a bottle at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand. Wildlife officials have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at the Buddhist temple after accusations that their caretakers were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals, as well as neglected them. Teunjai Noochdumrong, assistant deputy director of the Department of National Parks, said three tigers had been tranquilized and transported Monday, May 30, 2016, in an operation involving about 1,000 state personnel and expected to go on for a week. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

    FILE - In this Feb, 12, 2015 file photo a Thai Buddhist monk gives water to a tiger from a bottle at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand. Wildlife officials have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at the Buddhist temple after accusations that their caretakers were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals, as well as neglected them. Teunjai Noochdumrong, assistant deputy director of the Department of National Parks, said three tigers had been tranquilized and transported Monday, May 30, 2016, in an operation involving about 1,000 state personnel and expected to go on for a week. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo provided by the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, a tiger looks out of a cage at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 30, 2016. Wildlife officials have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at the Buddhist temple after accusations that their caretakers were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals, as well as neglected them. (Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand via AP)

    In this photo provided by the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, a tiger looks out of a cage at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 30, 2016. Wildlife officials have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at the Buddhist temple after accusations that their caretakers were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals, as well as neglected them. (Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo provided by the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, tigers walk around their enclosure at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 30, 2016. Wildlife officials have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at the Buddhist temple after accusations that their caretakers were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals, as well as neglected them. (Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand via AP)

    In this photo provided by the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, tigers walk around their enclosure at the "Tiger Temple" in Saiyok district in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 30, 2016. Wildlife officials have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at the Buddhist temple after accusations that their caretakers were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals, as well as neglected them. (Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Wildlife officials in Thailand have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at a Buddhist temple following accusations that monks were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals.

The director of Thailand's Wildlife Conservation Office, Teunjai Noochdumrong, said three tigers were tranquilized and transported Monday in an operation involving about 1,000 state personnel that is expected to continue for a week.

The animals will be taken to two government animal centers elsewhere in Thailand.

The temple, a popular money-earning tourist attraction in the western province of Kanchanaburi, has been criticized by animal rights activists because of allegations it is not properly set up to care for the animals and flouted regulations restricting their trade.