Animal welfare activists petition Royal Thai embassy - London
Activists from Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand gather at the Royal Thai embassy to petition the Thai government to investigate the recent raid by the Department of National Parks that led to the confiscation of 103 rescued animals.
On 2nd March 2012, Activists and supporters of animal welfare organisation Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) assembled today outside the Royal Thai Embassy in Queens Gate to petition the Thai government to investigate the conduct of the Department of National Parks (DNP), whose officials conducted an aggressive raid on their Wildlife Rescue Centre located on a huge plot of forest part-owned by the Kao Look Chang temple and the WFFT, which saw 103 recently-rescued animals taken away and placed in badly-run, overcrowded government facilities. So far only three of the animals have been recovered.
The WFFT is a well-established and respected organisation whose main objectives are to rescue wild animals from places where they have been maltreated or neglected - such as badly run private zoos which provide animals for tourists to pose with for photographs - and also to provide the animals with a sanctuary as close to their natural environment as possible, and to give them the best possible medical care. Where possible the animals are rehabilitated and returned to the wild. WFFT also engages local populations to educate them in animal welfare, and to stop cruelty to animals. Another major concern is illegal hunting and to promote the conservation of natural rainforest habitats.
Also present at the Thai Embassy today were representatives of Care for the Wild International (an organisation which regularly audits the standards of care and provision of the WFFT), whose chief executive Philip Mansbridge handed over a 53,000 signature petition to embassy staff asking the Thai Government to help find out why the Department of National parks, which has previously worked very well with the WFFT to the extent of even sending them animals to care for when government services are over-burdened, has now seemingly turned against the foundation. During the raid which took place over several days from Feb 12th to 17th, several animals were very badly treated by DNP personnel, who injured many animals whilst trapping them and cramming them into completely inappropriate enclosures before transporting them the length and breadth of Thailand on the backs of trucks. Many suspect the DNP has turned against them for political reasons following WFFT public statements by founder Edwin Wiek about elephant and tiger poaching and possible cover-ups perpetrated by DNP officials, politicians and local businessment running the elephant camps which provide major tourist revenue to the regional Thai economies.