Quick check on Patong finds 23 endangered wildlife in red-light district
HIGHEST NUMBER of protected wildlife EVER FOUND on Patong beach
WFFT did again another check on Patong beach and Bangla road on the island of Phuket. The check was needed as we complained 8 months ago to the commander of the NRECD (Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division) of the Royal Thai Police and the Department of National Parks (DNP) and were informed that 3 man with slow lorises were arrested on Bangla road. We were further informed that the exploitation of illegal wildlife would be no further tolerated by the NRECD, DNP and local police.
Unfortunately we received many complaints again in the last 2 months that the same people were again back on the roads of Patong with lorises, gibbons and other protected wildlife. The local police commander of Katu police station however told us by phone last week that these complaints were untrue and that no wildlife was being paraded around. After receiving photos taken within this month we decided to go and check out the area ourselves.
We are shocked to have found an increased amount of animals last night with a total of 23 “protected and endangered wild animals” in total, 19 lorises, 2 gibbons and 2 Phayre’s Langurs. All were paraded around as photoprops, tourists paying 200-500 Baht per photo-session. The loris, gibbon and langur are protected under local laws as well as CITES appendix 1, which prohibits possession, local and international trade.
We will again complain officially with National police, the Phuket governor and the Department of National Parks to stop this practise, confiscate the animals and bring the “owners” to court. A video clip with all evidence will be uploaded to Youtube and Facebook soon.
Photographs of the nightly investigation hereunder (captured from our video camera), there is no further need to deny the practice is still happening every night on Phuket!
Locals interviewed during our investigation claim law enforcement officials take 500 to 1,000 baht a night per person parading around Patong with protected wildlife. A quick sum tells us that with 23 people found today this means about 517,500 Baht (US$ 17,250) a month is being paid in kick-backs, which might explain the lack of enforcement.