I am seriously concerned for the welfare of both animals and staff at the Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand, who are currently being intimidated by Thai officials.
Both Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) and Elephant Nature Park (ENP) were raided by armed officials of the Department of National Parks (DNP) and police units. The officials claim they received an anonymous phone call.
Both WFFT and ENP feel they have been targeted for speaking out on the recent elephant killings at Kaengkrachan National Park and Kuiburi National Park, and the involvement of officials, politicians and wealthy businessmen.
The ENP was founded by Sangduen (Lek) Chailert who has won numerous conservation awards including Hero of the Planet by the Ford Foundation, Hero of Asia by Time Magazine in 2005 and the Earth Day Award. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, BBC and in print media throughout the world. The ENP and WFFT both have an international reputation as having the the best animal rescue facilities, setting the standard in Thailand for elephant care and wildlife rescue. http://www.wfft.org/
The Department of National Parks have forcibly removed 100 animals from WFFT for which they claim the organisation does not have relevant paperwork. This is untrue. The 'confiscation' has been inhumane and included the use of sticks, some animals were left bleeding, the kicking of unconscious animals, nearly drowning one, and forcing them into cramped rusty cages often without anaesthesia.
This is blatant corruption and bullying in an attempt to silence the organisation's leaders from being outspoken against the illegal wildlife trade and recent finds of slaughtered elephants in nearby national parks, for which corruption amongst Thai authorities is suspected.
We petition to see the immediate and safe return of all 100 animals.
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