December 24, 2007 / 5:36 AM / 12 years ago

Chinese baby tigers found dead in refrigerator

BEIJING (Reuters) - Two Siberian baby tigers have been discovered dead in a refrigerator at a Chinese zoo, the second attack in less than a week on the endangered species in a country where tiger body parts are treasured as medicines.

State media reported on Monday that the baby tigers were found over the weekend in the freezer in the ticketing office of the Three Gorges Forest Wildlife Park in the southwestern province of Chongqing.

“They were born not long ago and are now dead,” a park employee was quoted by the Beijing News as saying.

The discovery comes days after a Siberian tiger was found skinned and beheaded at a zoo in the same area.

Local authorities are investigating the cause of the deaths, the newspaper said. Calls to Park officials and the local Forestry Bureau went unanswered.

China breeds Siberian tigers as a way to protect one of the world’s most endangered species, which mostly live in northeast China and Russia.

According to Xinhua, of just 400 estimated to live in the wild, only 10-17 live in China. Many hundreds live in captivity where they are popular in zoos.

Tiger bones are used to treat everything from skin disease to rheumatism and occasionally used in the production of special wines as well.

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