Jan 302016
 

A concerned local has rescued three endangered elongated tortoises (Indotestudo elongata) after he found them at a friend’s house destined for the dinner plate. The person who planned to eat the tortoises had initially purchased six from a market and already eaten three of them. Luckily the kind man stepped in and opposed the others being eaten, and suggested that they should be brought to WFFT. Thankfully the man who was going to eat them handed them over to his friend who then brought them to WFFT.

The elongated tortoise is listed as Endangered (EN) by the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species, as it is under extreme pressure across most of its range, largely due to it being widely harvested and sold on the Asian food markets, and the pet trade. It is also threatened by the habitat destruction that accompanies human commercial and residential expansion

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The tortoises seem to be in good health and are eating well. They will spend a few weeks recuperating at the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Centre and then be released back to the wild into a protected area.

Jan 172016
 

A female sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) named ‘Kong Kang’ has been handed over to WFFT after her owner decided that she needed better care. Kong Kang was purchased as a pet 2.5 years ago and has spent the majority of her time in a very small cage. As you can see from the pictures she is extremely overweight after being fed an improper diet. These gliding nocturnal marsupials are native to Australia and New Guinea not Thailand. A global increase in the demand for this species in the exotic pet trade now means that it is one of the most commonly traded exotic pets. Kong Kang is currently in the WFFT Wildlife Hospital settling in to her new life and getting some much needed correct nutrition. She will be provided with permanent refuge at the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Centre.

ก๋องแก๋ง ชูก้าไกลเดอร์รูปร่างตุ้ยนุ้ยถูกเจ้าของพามาที่มูลนิธิเพื่อนสัตว์ป่าเพราะอยากให้เราปล่อยก๋องแก๋งกลับสู่ป่า แต่น่าเสียดายที่เราทำแบบนั้นไม่ได้ เพราะก๋องแก๋งไม่ใช่สัตว์ป่าของไทย แต่เป็นสัตว์ป่าที่อยู่แถบออสเตรเลีย และเป็นไปได้อยากมากที่จะพาก๋องแก๋งกลับประเทศเดิม เราจึงต้องดูแลก๋องแก๋งไปตลอดชีวิตของเขา เราจะหากรงให้ก๋องแก๋งได้ปีนป่ายและฝึกบิน ซึ่งตลอดเวลาที่ผ่านมาเขาไม่สามารถทำได้

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Jan 172016
 

On Wednesday the 19th of January the last talks will be held between the Ministry of National Resources and Department of National Parks (DNP) and the tiger temple. These talks will be probably resulting in the removal of at least 75 tigers from the temple to a Government rescue center. If talks go well the first tigers will be leaving on Thursday the 20th (the next day).

WFFT has pledged logistic and financial support to the best solution, a better environment and sterilizition of the moved tigers to prevent further inbreeding and suffering.

We hope the quality of lives of all tigers will increase and exploitation will stop as soon as possible.

อัพเดทวัดถ้ำเสือ
วันพุธ ที่ 19 มกราคมนี้ จะเป็นการพูดคุยครั้งสุดท้ายของกระทรวงทรัพยากรธรรมชาติและสิ่งแวดล้อม กรมอุทยานแห่งชาติสัตว์ป่าและพันธุ์พืช และวัดถ้ำเสือ เพื่อเจรจาเคลื่อนย้ายเสือจากวัดถ้ำเสือไปที่ศูนย์ช่วยเหลือสัตว์ป่าของกรมอุทยานฯ หากการพูดคุยดำเนินไปด้วยดี เสือตัวแรกจะถูกเคลื่อนย้ายทันทีในวันพฤหัสบดี ที่ 20 มกราคม

มูลนิธิเพื่อนสัตว์ป่ายินดีช่วยเคลื่อนย้ายเสือทั้งหมดและยินดีสนับสนุนค่าใช้จ่ายเพื่อความเป็นอยู่ที่ดีของเสือทั้งหมดค่ะ

เราหวังว่าเสือในประเทศไทยจะมีความเป็นอยู่ที่ดีขึ้น และการหากำไรจากเสือจะหมดไปเสียทีค่ะ

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Dec 052015
 

A few days ago we received a call about a 4-month-old baby mainland serow that was being kept as a pet inside someone’s house. His mother was most likely poached from the wild for meat; he was then sold to be a pet for 1000 baht. The WFFT Rescue Team went to collect him straight away, he is settling in well to life at the rescue centre. The mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis) is one of the most endangered animals in Thailand and is offered the strictest protection given to wildlife, as it is one of the 15 reserved wild animal species, which are defined by the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act of BE 1992. Originally widely distributed throughout Thailand, this species is now restricted to steep, forested limestone hills and cliffs, in areas relatively inaccessible to human encroachment and the range is highly fragmented. The meat, fur and various parts of the serow are highly prized by local people for food and medicinal purposes, so it is heavily hunted. Habitat loss primarily from agricultural expansion, but also piecemeal clearance for firewood and timber is also a serious long-term threat in some areas. We hope that in the future Dam will form a friendship with our resident serow Bruno.

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Nov 142015
 

After 5 and half hours on a Indonesian military airplane the WFFT Team and 14 orangutans arrived safely in Indonesia. Here are some images taken during the flight home. Previous story and images can be found here http://bit.ly/1kTRoth

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Nov 142015
 

Edwin and the team are currently flying to Jakarta, Indonesia to return 14 orangutans back to their homeland. WFFT has been campaigning for them to be repatriated since they were smuggled into Thailand almost a decade ago. All at WFFT are delighted to see them finally return home. The official event was a spectacle with officials from various governmental organisations, NGO’s and the regions biggest media channels. It’s great to see Thailand and Indonesia working together and we hope this is one of many collaborations that will stamp out the illegal trade of wildlife. After the ceremony the orangutans were loaded onto an Indonesian military plane with a team of carers and vets from the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and Thailand’s Department of National Parks. Representatives from each of these organisations will accompany them throughout the journey. Upon arrival the orangutans will be quarantined at a safari park and then hopefully moved onto rehabilitation facilities with the end goal of being released back to the wild. We will keep you updated on their journey. A great big thank you goes out to all involved in the repatriation of these orangutans.

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Nov 102015
 

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The time is almost here for 14 confiscated orangutans to finally be returned home to Indonesia. The animals have been held for almost 7 years after being confiscated from private zoos in southern Thailand. Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, founded by Edwin Wiek, have campaigned heavily, fighting for their repatriation and return home for many years. Wednesday will be an immense day for both the orangutans and the WFFT team who will be monitoring the orangutans throughout their journey. We are extremely happy to soon be waving them off to their homelands. Please see previous articles and press releases below. Updates will follow soon.

WFFT Press Release 27/8/15 http://bit.ly/1QoKU1Y

Edwin Wiek – Special to The Nation 2/6/12 http://bit.ly/1MGFOrX

11 Orangutans rescued from private zoo
By The Nation. Published on 23/2/09 http://bit.ly/1MurUNR

The orang-utans at the private zoo in Southern Thailand

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At the DNP Centre waiting to go home

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Nov 062015
 

Treatment and rehabilitation a success!

 

After one week of treatment and rehabilitation we have returned 48 pangolins back to the wild last night, on several secret locations. The WFFT/LWRC wildlife rescue team joined Lao government law enforcement officials on a mission to return the freedom to these magnificent animals.

One week ago Lao forestry officials and police arrested a Thai man with 81 pangolins that were smuggled from Thailand into Laos. Most of the pangolins were in bad shape; dehydrated, hungry, stressed and overall weak. Our team offered to care for the poor animals and fought for days to rescue as many as possible. Two days ago we found 48 of the pangolins strong enough to be released back into the wild, with 17 deceased.

Pangolins are very hard to care for and in most cases less than 20% survive this kind of an ordeal. It is believed that this “shipment” of pangolins originated from Sumatra Indonesia, and was destined for China, where these highly endangered wild animals would be eaten by the rich and corrupted, while their scales would be used as traditional Chinese medicine.

Laos and Thailand are major gateways for the illegal wildlife trade between South-east Asia and Africa with China and Vietnam. WFFT is currently discussing ways to assist more often with confiscations of wildlife with authorities in Laos in the future.

You can support our work in Thailand and Laos by donating towards our mobile wildlife rescue teams.

Oct 312015
 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Large confiscation of pangolins arrive at WFFT / Lao Wildlife Rescue Centre

Yesterday Laos PDR enforcement officials confiscated 81 pangolins at a checkpoint on the border between Thailand and Laos. As the Laos Wildlife Rescue is the only multi-species wildlife rescue center in Laos PDR the officials contacted our team for help in the care and rehabilitation of these critically endangered animals. Upon arrival many of the pangolins were found to be very weak after being smuggled for days maybe even weeks in small sacks, sadly one already dead on arrival. It is often hard to instantly assess the health of such a large shipment of animals, particularly pangolins. Both our LWRC vet team and WFFT vet team are currently working around the clock to provide the best care possible for these unfortunate victims of the illegal wildlife trade.

WFFT/LWRC staff with enforcement agents of Lao PDR

WFFT/LWRC staff with enforcement agents of Lao PDR

The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) is listed by the ICUN Red List as Critically Endangered (CR) and listed in CITES Appendix II, due to high levels of hunting and poaching for its meat and scales, the population of this species is declining throughout its range. The species is widely distributed geographically, occurring across mainland and island Southeast East Asia. In Lao PDR the Sunda pangolin is listed in the ‘Prohibition’ category of its Wildlife and Aquatic Law 2007, as a rare, near extinct, high value or species of special importance in the development of socio-economic, environmental, educational and scientific research.

 

 

It is likely that the confiscated animals have been poached in the Southern Southeast Asian Islands (Sumatra, Indonesia being the propable origin), then smuggled by boat over the sea to Malaysia and then onwards though Thailand and into Laos PDR. Both Lao PDR and Thailand play key roles as transit countries for the illegal trade in live wild animals from Southeast Asia to East Asia for international trade to China and Vietnam. Researchers at the IUCN state that over 1 million pangolins have been caught over the last decade, which makes them the most illegally traded endangered mammal in the world. The increased demand for pangolins and their body parts has seen prices surge from 13 US$ per Kg of scales in 1990s to more than 500 USD today. The illegal trade in pangolins is estimated to be worth about US$19bn a year.

 

Pangolins are the only mammal in the world that are completely covered (except their bellies) in scales. They are solitary, nocturnal and very secretive so many mysteries remain about their biology and behaviour. Pangolins live predominantly on a diet of ants and termites, which they may supplement with various other invertebrates including bee larvae, flies, worms, earthworms, and crickets. This specialist diet makes them extremely difficult to maintain in captivity. We are seeking assistance from experts in the field on the care of these enigmatic creatures.

 

The culprits of this illicit crime are currently in custody, we are hopeful that justice will prevail, with heavy fines and jailterms. For now these animals are being monitored around the clock, we are hopeful that many will be returned back to the wild in the coming weeks.

 

Will this species be killed and eaten to extinction in our lifetime? We sure hope not. We will keep you updated on the progress of these endearing creatures.

Aug 272015
 


14 ORANG-UTANS TO BE RETURNED TO INDONESIA


Press release

14 orangutans to be repatriated from Thailand to Indonesia.

THE REAL STORY

Over the last 48 hours many stories have been posted by several media outlets on the repatriation of 14 orangutans that were smuggled into Thailand in 2007 and 2008. The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand wishes to respond to some errors in news stories and to reply to some concerns issued by wildlife conservation organizations and public zoos.

The history:
One of the 14 orangutans “Fook” was found by Edwin Wiek of the WFFT in 2007 in a private zoo resort called “Kaengpheka” in Chumporn Province. After weeks of pushing authorities to have her confiscated she was taken away from the zoo, but the owner was not charged with illegal wildlife possession. In late 2008 twelve more orangutans were found by Edwin Wiek, this time at the “Phuket Crocodile Farm and Tiger Zoo” on Phuket island. An official complaint was send (see attachment) to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNP) in December 2008, but no action was taken until a repeat complaint was send in early February 2009. Within days after this complaint was send, with copies to the Nation Newspaper, the head of wildlife conservation of region 5 (South Thailand) Mr Vitthaya, called Edwin Wiek and told him he confiscated 12 orangutans from the accused Phuket zoo.

Edwin Wiek asked right after the arrest and confiscation for a copy of the police report, but after 4 weeks waiting and not seeing anything, went to visit the commander of Phuket province police, asking for more details. Edwin was then informed that there was not police report, legal case or investigation ongoing. The police was not aware of any crime.

After confronting Mr Vitthaya by phone, he confessed that he did not wish to charge the zoo owners with illegal possession of the orangutans as they were “influential people” and he considered the crime not really a serious issue. He further noted that he officially declared to his superiors in Bangkok that the 12 orangutans were found in cages along the highway instead, without knowing the owner(s). The orangutans were transported to the wildlife breeding centre of the DNP in Ratchaburi province in the second week of 2009, to be kept there awaiting further steps, obviously not a legal process.

Campaign:
The WFFT has campaigned over the last few years for the start of legal proceedings against the owners of the zoo, for the following reasons;
1. A conviction by the court would have sped up the repatriation by many years, and would reduce the costs of care. An early return of the orangutans would have given them a decent chance to be released back to the wild in Indonesia. After 6 years of capture most of them are now too old.
2. The owners could, once convicted, be not only punished for their crime but also held responsible for all cost arisen from confiscation, care and repatriation in a civil court case.
3. WFFT believes that all cases of poaching, smuggling, trade and possession of protected wildlife should be taken to court as stipulated by Thai law and international treaties such as CITES. Neglect of the law will only result in increase of protected wildlife crimes.
4. The apes ending up in commercial zoos would have been inevitable if they would not be send back home.

Last campaign:
In 2013/2014 several commercial zoos in Thailand and wildlife traders had shown interest in purchasing the 14 orangutans for breeding programs and display in Thai zoos and entertainment parks. For exactly this reason we have campaigned very hard in the last 12 months for repatriation of the orangutans. Once the caught from the wild apes would have ended up in local zoos, our 7 year long campaign would have been for nothing and traders would see a good reason to import more illegally caught wildlife such as orangutans.

We wish to express our outmost gratitude to the director-general of the Department of National Parks Dr. Niphon Chotibal and the director of wildlife conservation office Mrs Tuenjai Noochdamrong for their speedy approval to return the orangutan to the Indonesian authorities. Their decision has send a clear message to wildlife smugglers and zoos in Thailand that smuggled apes will never end up in the trade again.

We further thank the Indonesian for not giving up on the apes and politely urge them to find a suitable solution for these 14 victims of the illegal wildlife trade once they return back home. We hope the President of Indonesia will use this example to further strengthen the fight against the decline of orangutans in the wild, with stiff penalties for anyone poaching, trading or possessing orangutans and/or other protected wild animals. I am asking for help of orangutan conservation NGO’s in Indonesia and abroad to join our campaign for a better future of these 14 orangutans.

Facts summoning:
-The orangutans were not found along the highway, but originated from a Phuket zoo.

-The owners of the zoo were never charged with illegal possession of protected wild animals.

-The cost of care of 3 million baht care would not have occurred if the law was enforced from the start.
A legal case would have sped up the release back to Indonesia with at least 5 years.

-CITES stipulated clearly that member states should enforce local wildlife laws and CITES regulations as well as cooperate (article 8) on repatriation of confiscated wildlife.

-Of the 14 orangutans, 13 are Bornean orangutans and one is an extremely rare Sumatran orangutan. Two are offspring of the original confiscated orangutans, one of the orangutans has died two years go.

Lessons learned:
WFFT will petition the minister to change/scrap the law on keeping live plants/animals for a minimum period of 5 years, and take the conservation and animal welfare into consideration instead.
Thai law stipulates that illegal good/animals found need to be kept for 5 years, in case an owner shows up and claims these goods/animals. In this case however it was clear from the beginning that these orangutans belonged to one particular zoo in Phuket.

a personal note:
I wish to apologize to the orangutans that it took this long, that you guys had to go through all this trouble and misery for so many years. I have fought many years for your return, and I promise I will follow up on your progress once you are back home again.

Edwin Wiek
Founder and director
WFFT

Contact details or media and press:
Edwin Wiek
Founder and director WFFT
Telephone 08-90600906
Email: [email protected]
Skype: wildlife_rescue
website www.wfft.org

Attachments:

Original complaint letter to authorities in 2008/2009 (PDF)
complaint phuket zoo orangutans dec2008 (click for download or viewing)

This press release as PDF
PRESS RELEASE Orangutans Thailand August 2015

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