BANGKOK - Police have raided a private zoo in eastern Thailand and
confiscated hundreds of tigers they said the facility was breeding
illegally, a media report said.
Local ITV television station reported that in the Tuesday raid on the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, police seized 450 tigers, including three pairs used for breeding and one dead tiger, which was found frozen.
It quoted police as saying that the zoo started breeding tigers illegally in 1992, but did not explain why it took 12 years to take action against it.
The zoo will be charged with possessing protected wildlife and breeding wildlife illegally, ITV said.
The zoo is already being investigated for exporting 100 tigers to China.
Body parts from tigers are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Under Cites regulations, Thailand cannot export tigers - which are classified as being endangered - except for educational and conservation purposes.
Less than 5,000 wild tigers currently exist in the world, compared to some 100,000 a century ago, according to the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency.
The raid comes as Bangkok is hosting a two-week conference attended by the 166 nations which signed the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna, or Cites.
The treaty, introduced in 1975, aims to protect some 30,000 animals and plants, some of which face extinction because of commercial trade.
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