Bound and Gagged – Thailand DNP Animal Confiscation Debacle Feb 2012 by Sybelle Foxcroft

13th February 21:54

URGENT NEWS!!!! Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand and Elephant Nature Park RAIDED by Department of National Parks! Officials fot he DNP with help from the border police raid two rescue centers after they received a phone complaint that animals were held in torturous conditions. Edwin of WFFT and Khun Lek of ENP have over the last few weeks written several complaint and stories about the poaching of wild elephants and are now getting a warning. Instead of going after the commercial elephant camps the DNP now attacks Thai rescue NGO’s to shut them up? While these places are raided elephant camps in Huahin, Ayutthaya, Pattaya and in de rest of Thailand are moving out their young elephants into hiding!
So began what may well be the Department of National Parks, Thailand, biggest mistake. Maybe….
What happened to cause a Government body to act in such a vile way in broad daylight with cameras clicking?
Timeline
13th January 2012
News of the slaughter of 4 Elephants inside Phetchaburi’s Kaeng Krachan district breaks.  In this article, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) Director-General Damrong Pidech said he experienced this type of elephant hunting for the first time in the country and suspected the killing was made by foreign hunters. However, he also said “he had clues that the smuggling ring involved local and national politicians, and some civil servants, whom he claimed supplied the weapons, while the large mammal’s organs were sent to restaurants in the resort island of Phuket for foreign customers.” DG Pidech went on to talk about the ring of smugglers working the Western forests along Myannmar, the use of elephant body parts and the cost.
http://www.mcot.net/cfcustom/cache_page/317037.html
Thought  I would just take the opportunity to give a couple of tips for DG Pridesh .
1.  Name of the resturant in Phukit and go and raid them, charge them, fine them, jail them.
2. Get the weapons dealing politicans and civil servants, raid them, charge them, fine them, jail them…..
3. Patrol the western border and capture the ‘Foreign Smugglers” or even better, just ask the weapons totting politicians where they are……
Yeah well, anyway….
14th January 2012
5  National Park Officials, Assistant Chief of National Parks – Suriyont Photibandit,  and 4 other national park officials — Surin Maikaew, Mana Nokkaew, Jinda Phuangmalai and Phol Thomya are charged with possession of carcasses of protected wild animals without permission, tampering with evidence and conspiring to hide and  sell  the  carcasses  of  illegally acquired protected animals.

Local resident Phuan Thumsap, 58, a local resident said that he had reported finding a carcass of an elephant with tusks to these men on 31 Dec 2011, and when he took the park officials to the carcass with tusks, Mr Phuan said one of the officials then asked him to remove its tusks, but he refused and left the scene. Its illegal to remove the tusks of an elephant…obviously.  The park officials were found burning the elephant carcass without tusks.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/275039/5-park-officials-wanted-for-poaching-elephants
So whats this got to do with the raid conducted on WFFT (Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand) and ENP? (Elephant Nature Park)
ENP’s Lek  and WFFT Edwin Wiek speak out about the atrocities to the press. Lek has critical evdience and offers to provide film to the Government of who is behind the elephant slaughters.  Lek says nothing more.

The first hint of WFFT’s disgust with the poaching situation came out a bit more on 14th January 2012 stating – “we hope the complete park management will be locked up and/or transferred. Those that were involved with the kiling should go to jail for a long time, and those chiefs and assistants “who didn’t know” should be moved away from wildlife forever!”

19th Jan 2012

WFFT Founder Edwin Wiek publishes his thoughts on 2 of the elephant poaching situations. 


In this article Wiek revealed the following
* Kaeng Krachan National Park chief Chaiwat Limlikit-Auksorn blamed Karen forest villagers dwellers for it,
* That this same NP Chief torched (set fire to) the Karen dwellers homes last year, claiming he thought they were Burmese drug growers and wildlife hunters,
* And that Chief Chaiwat is responsible for plunging the villagers into starvation.
But that wasnt all
Wiek went onto reveal this Chief of NP
* Was a murderer who killed a local, Tatkamol Ob-om after Tatkamol threatened to go public with the illegal happenings in the forest.
What an awesome chap Chaiwat must be.
I got to hand it Wiek for having the balls to put this information out there, while still in country…….

Now with these above issues of the lovely Chief Chaiwat bubbling away, you would think that the DNP Director-General Damrong Pidech would boot Chief Chaiwat out, wouldnt you?

No of course you dont boot your so-called murdering mate out, you cover his arse instead.

So Wieks article goes on to explain that on the day of the elephant killings, it went something like this.

The police were informed of the elephant killings and went to invesitgate.  Chaiwat gets upset that the police were moving in and says it was poachers and he had eyewitness stating the hunters shot the elephant from a tree and then took the elephants’ tusks and sexual organs had been collected by poachers before the carcasses were found.  Police checked, no tree was found in the killing zone and they quickly issued warrants for the arrest of the 5 officials – Those arrested were Chief Chaitwat’s right hand man, Assistant Chief of National Parks – Suriyont Photibandit and 4 park employees (as above mentioned). But Chaitwat wasnt arrested….

The other park workers told the police they burnt the carcass and gave the tusks to Suriyon.  With a warrant out for his arrest, instead of immediately handing himself in, Suriyon takes his time but finally turns up.  He then tells the police the tusks were burnt and he didnt have them… (Wonder what took Suriyon so long to hand himself in….disposal of tusks???)

Anyway, Chaitwat backed Suriyons story about the elephant tusks being burnt by Suriyon.  Funny about that, I think Chaitwat must have forgotten he already stated the tusks and organs had already been removed before he got there…..

Wiek announces on Facebook and Twitter that he will post his thoughts on the elephant poaching situation and this article was then posted in the very well read Bangkok Post.

So basically Wiek’s article went out into this major newspaper, to reveal a finger pointing, arsonist, human rights violator, murderer, wildlife trader, liar, criminal and his accomplices who all  happen to work and hold high positions in the Thai Gov Dept of National Parks…..

24th Jan 2012

Wiek releases another article in the Nation Newspaper. I guess to send the message home and get as much education out to the general public.

In this article, he again reveals the twisted circumstances of his description of the manical madman and his accomplices who all  happen to work and hold high positions in the Thai Gov Dept of National Parks….. however he goes into more depth about the slaughtered elephants being also used for bush meat, for the non exisitant Phukit resturant,  and references the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NRECD) and the office of the Phuket Governor to back himself up, whether they wanted to or not or knew or not.

Wiek theorises about the reasons for the slaughter of the adults and surmises that it was possibly to take the baby elephants to elephant camps (severe abuse camps). He then goes on to tell how the elephant poachers work, names areas where poachers sell them, and explains that for elephants being tranferred over the boarders, it is done in compliance with corrupt politicians, government officials and influential businessmen.

This article also covers the movements of the poaching gangs obviously working in co ordination with corrupt individuals in positions of authority and how the Thai Government has denied all knowledge of these activities. And how over half the young elephants in tourist camps in Thailand are wild caught.

Thats alot of  accusations to throw out there.  I suppose its already well known that all over the world, particularly in countries such as Africa, and Asia etc, where the iconic species of Tigers, Elephants, Rhino etc exist,  the “Authorites” are littered with corrupt individuals who are constantly being caught out.  In addition, Wieks mention of over half of the elephant tourism venues in Thailand, is on par with  canned hunting in Africa.

I’ll be honest, after reading Wieks account and thoughts, remembering that Wiek is based in Thailand and working under Thai authorities and their permissions, I am seriously worried for this guys safety, no matter how true his account may be.

Thailand is a place where you must be very careful and speak respectfully always when dealing with Authority figures etc.

But anyway, too late for that now.

26th January 2012

The Nation Newspaper releases an article stating that Natural Resources and Environment Ministry plans to build a DNA database of the 4,000 or so domesticated elephants in order to stop people from bringing in wild elephants and taking over identity papers of deceased pachyderms.
Wiek responds indicating that 3 days after his letter was published  the Minster responded, but then Wiek (via Facebook) goes on to say that  the Minster doesnt know how to set up a DNA bank .

6th Feb 2012

News headlines of a wildlife trade bust in Bangkok. DNP says they want to do a sweep of all zoo’s to find out where these animals came from.

8th Feb 2012

’100 government people descended on The Elephant Nature Park. They claimed they had an anonymous phone call alleging that the park was hiding some 70 wild elephants.  They disrupted the park from early morning till evening, some 13 hours.  They found nothing but fully documented elephants living in sanctuary.  Some were old, some sick, some wounded but all were properly documented and well cared for.  It’s public knowledge that there are 35 elephants at ENP.  ENP’s attorney was on hand and presented the proper documentation’ stated Asian Elephant.
On the same day

For anyone who didnt read Weiks articles in the Bangkok Post or National Newspaper, Weik then does a live television discussion about wildlife trade and animal abuse issues in Thailand.

http://youtu.be/XnhnBn0AGXw -Thai lanuage only.

11th Feb 2012

Wiek writes another article about the Bangkok wildlife trade bust and subsequent DNP  “zoo sweep”.   DNP finds no evidence of foul play in 2 of Thailands largest tiger farms.

13th Feb 2012

The raids begin on WFFT but all documents and licencing of rescued animals can not be supplied within 2 hours of demand.  The DNP begin to confiscate numerous creatures. Film of sick and injured animals being treated callously begins to surface.

There is an outcry which reaches out across the world. Animal lovers appalled with the footage, appalled at the confiscation of humanely cared for creatures being thrown into cages into the back of trucks and taken.  Letters, emails, phone calls, in fact every form of contact to support WFFT’s animals and stop the confiscations goes out to Embassy’s, Conservation Organisations, Media, everything.

Day 2 – more confiscation
Day 3 more confiscations – Weik releases a video citing, DNP for torture and abuse of the animals at WFFT, and a cover up for corruption within the DNP
Day 4 Numerous organisations and media are now aware of the situation and are supporting the humane care of the animals.

And its still a solution has not been found for the animals.

Weik is due to give a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on Tuesday 21st February 2012.

So what happened?

Did the DNP just have enough of Weik?
It certainly looks that way.
Weik has a long history with the DNP, he’s been jailed a number of times, taken to court, and had previous confiscations all in Thailand over the last 12  years.
Are the animals being confiscated because WFFT doesnt have licences for them?
Are the animals being confiscated from WFFT because the DNP just dont like Weik and want him gone?
Are the animals paying the price for the voicing of Weiks opinions?
Was the days of media related articles and interviews conducted by Weik the straw that broke Thai DNP’s back?
And Lek at ENP, was only in the media once, however it was enough and the film evidence of officials doing the wrong thing is  serious.
A million questions.

Thailand has a different culture and often ‘western’ responses or tactics aggravate the situation. But if Weik is correct and there is finger pointing, arsonist, human rights violator, murderer, wildlife trader, liar, criminal and his accomplices working in high authority places, then shouldnt they be booted out?

The DNP look like bullies right now (to say the least) and it is exposing a vile underbelly of the Thai Government.

However, looking on the bright side, maybe all of our ‘westerner’ outcry has made it easier for the ‘good’ Thai’s in positions of authority to do their job and find the criminals inside their Department and get rid of them.

But at the end of the day, its not about Weik is it, its about the animals that were once held in humane facilities and being well cared for. Its about what has happened to them now and if they are safe and recieving the veterinary care they had.

DNP – Youve stated that you recieved just one anonymous phone call and the caller stated there was abuse, neglect and illegal animals at ENP and WFFT?  and you acted like good law abiding DNP’s…. No, dont take the world for fools.

DNP – You actually gave WFFT creatures to care for, what are you doing?
DNP – However, if you would like to really bust a bad bad place which already has the evidence of absolute abuse and neglect, and the ultimate crime against creatures – death via wildlife trade, then I will be happy to make phone call 2001 to you tomorrow, but this time I will do it anonymously and I will tell you of the abuse, neglect and wildlife trade within the Tiger Temple at Sai Yok, and I will tell you about the wildlife trade of the Sri Racha tigers, or how about the heinously abusive Pata Zoo. Just a few starts for you.

But will you do it?

And just one more thing.

DNP – Last time you confiscated animals off WFFT, they were never seen again.  Where are they?

TCM animal body part use is FALSE.  The wildlife trade is killing game, for greed for money. No one has the right to the systematic genocide of any living thing.

Sybelle Foxcroft

CEO Cee4life

www.cee4life.org

22 Comments

  1. February 19, 2012 at 4:55 am

    [...] been reported worldwide.  In addition to the newspaper reports below, one supporter has released a timeline of events leading up to the [...]

  2. Nola Lee Kelsey said,

    February 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Great stuff! Thank you for speaking out and providing an organized recourse to share as we continue to educate others about this atrocity. I will cross post and quote offer – UNTIL EVERY LAST ANIMAL IS RETURNED!

  3. Anon said,

    February 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

    The petition: http://tiny.cc/thairaid

  4. Anon said,

    February 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Ongoing raid videos here: http://tiny.cc/thairaidvideo

  5. February 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Pata Department Store’s zoo on the 6th and 7th floors of a noisy store has a collection of many rare animals, including the survivor of two imported gorillas, chimpanzees,orangutans, douc langurs, and gibbons of several species. The whole collection on the 6th floor was cremated alive some years ago, no way to get the poor animals out. Conditions are horrible.
    Edwin Wiek works with animals rescued from abuisive situations and illegal trade in Thailand. He is a hero standing up to some really evil characters. He and the animals he and his crew serve urgently need our support from inside and outside Thailand.
    Which deserved to be raided. Pata or the Wildlife Rescue Center? .
    Thai embassies worldwide can be located at http://www.thaiembassy.com/thaiembassyww/thaiembassyww.php

  6. Anon said,

    February 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Whose side is this BP author on? Sounds like a govt propaganda voice.

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/search/news-and-article/?xAuthor=210&xAdvanceSearch=true

    Pls note pertinent to this story #ThaiWildlifeRaid indexes tweets using this hashtag: https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23thaiwildliferaid
    #wfft, too.

  7. Val Smith said,

    February 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Sybelle, this seems to be the beginning of a long worldwide awareness of the horrendous treatment of animals. Very few countries are free of animal abuse, from the “innocent” circuses to poaching, slaughter ,”animal farms”, misuse of animals, cruelty, the list is endless.
    Let all human beings join in the condemnation of animal abuse, and continue what has now been started,.The pressue must be relentless and never cease, innocence should be protected, not exploited. This is one battle to be won, then there is the next and the next and the next…….

    • February 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

      The will go down in history as the most prolonged unwarranted public attack on a humane animal rescue NGO, and the ultimate exposing of the vicious thugs that rule Thailand. DNP has done this is twisted effort to “Save Face” because they hate being told by foreigners how to care for their animals. It defy’s all logic

    • February 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

      This will go down in history as the most prolonged unwarranted public attack on a humane animal rescue sanctuary in the world. It also exposed to the public the vicious and ego centric Department of National Parks, and points directly at their involvement in corruption publicly. It defys all logic, these were the very people that the public relied upon to protect the creatures from the very actions they carried out on them… Disgraceful, Shameful, Vile.
      I look forward to the DG DNP being placed in a court of law and being found guilty on all accounts.

      • February 25, 2012 at 11:37 am

        I want to obtain a list of every animal removed from WFFT, name, background, and exactly where each animal is located now. I want all the WFFT caregivers to be invited to visit their friends and photograph them, wherever they are. What is their housing like, if they are alive? How many were injured by the forestry people?

      • February 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        I agree. This will have to be done via the legal avenues in Thailand, via the court. This is where some problems may be faced as DNP are linked to the Thai Courts.

  8. Val Smith said,

    February 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Most of the DNP email sites have been closed! lHow to contact them?

  9. Anon said,

    February 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Born Free asks that we all contact our Thai embassy:

    http://www.thaiembassy.org/

    More contacts

    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=256085667803867

  10. Anon said,

    February 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

    SPCA Intl launches new (Feb 20) website (contact info)

    http://bit.ly/yJdGm4

    SPCA Intl highlights deplorable Thai conditions (Feb 23)

    http://bit.ly/yGFoCP

    Maybe worth contacting.

  11. ellen marie halvorsen said,

    February 28, 2012 at 6:41 am

    ellen marie halvorsen

  12. Gina said,

    February 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

    How To Help:
    Educate others about phajaan, etc. by commenting on “elephant AND thailand” videos posted online: http://bit.ly/Ag7arD

  13. Ellen Denstedt said,

    February 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Lek, the founder of Elephant Nature Park, is being arrested today and 8 elephants (5 of which are babies) are being taken from their mothers. Please spread the word! Do anything you can.

  14. Maggie Barrett said,

    February 29, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Have any of the animals that were ripped away from WFFT been returned at all?


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