Confiscated wild animals die at the hands of DNP negligence!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20th, 2012 – Bangkok, Petchaburi, Lampang
Reports that 2 gibbons and 1 elephant have died at the hands of incompetent officials of the Department of National Parks (DNP) have been basically confirmed by staff at the Lampang elephant conservation center and a wildlife-breeding center of the DNP in Ratchaburi. Although the DNP has been trying to cover up the deaths and have told staff to keep quiet on the matter news is now coming out that indeed at least 3 confiscated animals have passed away.
One elephant confiscated from an elephant camp in Kanchanaburi died two days ago at the Lampang “Thai Elephant Conservation Center” or TECC. This elephant that was chained up front legs, not able to move at all, had no elephant keeper (mahout) assigned to care for her, or any of the other twenty-plus confiscated elephants. Staff members at the TECC have told that there is no budget or staffs send by the DNP to care for or feed the confiscated pachyderms, there is now great concern for the physical and mental wellbeing and lives of more elephants there.
Similar is the story of two gibbons born at Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand’s (WFFT) in 2006 that have been living in the semi-wild at the largest island at the WFFT. Both gibbons were never touched by humans over the last 6 years, since birth, as they were part of a study group on behavior of gibbons born in the semi-wild. One of the gibbons fell from a 25-meter high tree and died before arrival at the DNP wildlife breeding center at Ratchaburi, a second one reportedly died a few days later from extreme stress in a small cage as it was taken away from its family and could not cope with captivity.
The WFFT has asked in an official letter to the DNP on the 28th of February to urgently return the animals that were born in 2006 at WFFT and a confirmation of receipt of our demand was signed on the 1st of March by the DNP, however to date we have not received the animals back nor have we received any response, reason for the delay in this response is most probably due to the death of some of the taken animals.
We at WFFT again ask for an urgent return of the animals to the wildlife rescue center before more are killed at the hands of the DNP. We, again, state that we have all documents for the animals in order and have on very frequent bases over the last years updated the authorities about the amount of rescued wildlife at the center.