When I started the Wildlife Friends Foundation in 2001 a lot of my friends and family said I was crazy, this kind of work was something for professionals and not for me. I still agree with one of the points they made, I am indeed crazy, crazy enough about animals and the injustice done to them by us humans. Now 17 years later I hardly get to go on a rescue myself, as I spend more time in offices, meeting rooms and at seminars, away from the job that initially got me in to this, the thrill of the rescue mission, seeing first hand the changes we make to the lives of so many poor wild animals.
Last week we received 20 different calls for help, but one of them got my personal attention, as the species involved is one of my favourite, the macaque, one hardly considered of any conservation value and to many people considered a pest instead of a treasure. Don’t even try to raise funds to help these guys, because they are just not “sexy” enough to the general public or international organisations. Thousands are being kept around Asia in horrible conditions with little hope for a rescue or a second chance in life.
So this particular macaque got my attention. Why? Well he reminded me of “Joe” the macaque in the slums of Bangkok a few years ago that spend 25 years in captivity with 23 of them squeezed in a wooden box between to houses, with no sunlight, sleeping in his own faeces and only a little opening to feed him. This new guy that we will call “George” from now on was in a similar condition, but spend “only” 7 years in such a box. He had friendly neighbours who fed him often and an owner who spend a lot of time with him, but after many pleas by the owner for help to various organisations, no one came forward to help him. Macaques are just not interesting enough. Then a lucky moment came last week, the owner watched the news about another rescued macaque by WFFT called “Mali”, a story that went viral in Thailand. The owner found our contact details and send us the story and pictures of George, being kept in a wooden crate, explaining he could not release it just like that. A cry for help.
When I did see these photos, I just had to go. The next morning we set off to Minburi on invitation of the owners, met George, who is a friendly and very playful boy, even after all that has happened to him.
What happened next is in the video! If you watch the video, you will understand why my job is the best in the world.
For all the macaques out there, I care about you and when I know where you are I will come and get you!
Still love what I do, Edwin Wiek, Founder of WFFT