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. Slaughtered tigers, panther seized in Thailand: police

Tiger hunting is illegal worldwide, but tiger numbers in Asia are declining because of loss of prey and habitat due to uncontrolled development, and poaching for the black market trade in tiger skins and bones.
by Staff Writers
Yala, Thailand (AFP) Feb 10, 2009
Thai authorities have seized the butchered carcasses of two tigers and a panther and charged the man transporting them with possession of endangered wildlife, police said Tuesday.

The two Bengali tigers and a black panther were discovered when a truck was stopped for a routine search late Monday in the southern province of Pattani.

Lieutenant Colonel Theewa Daorueng, of Pattani's police force, said the animals had been shot, cut in half and frozen for the journey. It was not clear where the big cats had come from, he added.

"The driver was charged with illegal possession of carcasses of endangered wildlife and faces four years imprisonment," he told AFP.

"He has denied the charges and said he was not aware that there were carcasses in his pick-up truck."

The arrested man told police that he was hired to drive from Sungai Kolok town on the Malaysian border to Hat Yai city, the Thai south's commercial hub.

Thailand, with its highly developed infrastructure and location, is a transportation centre for the thriving illicit animal trade in Southeast Asia, animal rights groups have said.

Tiger hunting is illegal worldwide, but tiger numbers in Asia are declining because of loss of prey and habitat due to uncontrolled development, and poaching for the black market trade in tiger skins and bones.

The wines and medicines made from the animals are traditionally believed to have healing or aphrodisiac properties.

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