Thai police bust rare wildlife 'butchers'

February 08, 2012
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BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thai police arrested seven men for involvement with an exotic wildlife slaughterhouse in Bangkok, officials said Monday (February 6th).

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    Elephant, zebra, wildebeest, and lion remains were found at the suburban property as well as what appeared to be refrigerated tiger meat meant for human consumption.

    The police are still hunting for an eighth man believed to be the owner of an exotic animal restaurant in Bangkok that was purchasing the meat. All the men could face four years in jail for the illegal processing of wild and protected animals.

    Steven Galster, director of the wildlife anti-trafficking group Freeland, said it appeared some of the animals were "bred in, or laundered through, private zoos in Thailand".

    Thailand, a hub of international smuggling, is one of 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations. Worldwide numbers are estimated to have fallen to 3,200 from approximately 100,000 a century ago.

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