Finally a chance for change!
On February 18th Edwin Wiek, founder of WFFT, was able to hand over 25,000 signatures of a petition on CHANGE.ORG to the director-general of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNP), under the ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). Edwin spoke out on the concern over the living conditions of “Canoe” an adult chimp that has been living in a 5 square meter cage for over 20 years in the middle of Bangkok, at Sammithichot School.
In the same week, the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand also send an official letter to the office of the director-general of the DNP, to further explain that our concern over Canoe was on three different (legal) points.
1. Where did the chimp, a protected species under CITES law, originate from and how did it enter Thailand?
2. How can an animal live in a small and dark environment for so many years? Can anything be done to better it’s life?
3. What about the danger of keeping a dangerous animal in a small and unsafe enclosure in the middle of a city?
After further discussion between our foundation, The Thai AGA and the Love Wildlife Foundation and authorities the DNP applied for a court order to search the premises of the Sammithichot School, accompanied by the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division (NRECD Police) and the Livestock Department who are in charge over Animal cruelty legislation.
On Friday the 20th of February authorities, accompanied by the three local animal welfare and wildlife conservation NGO’s presented the court order for a search and entered the school for an investigation and check-up. At the school a white-handed gibbon, a crab-eating macaque and the chimp were found kept in inappropriate conditions. Documents for both the gibbon and macaque were handed over, however for the chimp there was no legal document of ownership and it was claimed by the owner that he has had it since before the Thai wildlife laws came into effect.
Authorities have given the owners 90 days to improve the living conditions for all 3 animals found to international standard, but advised however to hand-over the animals instead so a better place could be found at a rescue facility with other individuals of their own kind.
We are thankful that the authorities have taken our complaint and concern serious and hope this latest order will at least improve the living conditions of Canoe and the other two primates. In 90 days we will accompany the authorities again to see the improvements made, or ask for confiscation of the animals if there is no positive change seen by then.
Thank you all 25,000 people that have signed our campaign on change.org, for now this is a first victory to give Canoe a second chance in life!