Thai authorities say they have removed more of the 137 tigers kept in a Buddhist temple that operated as an admission-charging zoo and is suspected of illegally trafficking in the beasts.

The director of Thailand's Wildlife Conservation Office, Teunjai Noochdumrong, said Tuesday that 40 tigers were tranquilized and removed in two days. They are being taken to government animal shelters elsewhere in the country.

She said the temple in western Kanchanaburi province is still admitting tourists, but her personnel are warning visitors of the possible dangers of being present during the moving process.

Animal rights activists have long accused the temple of mistreating the tigers. The government suspects the monks have been involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals.