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Armed Thai Officials Raid Wildlife Rescue NGO’s



Sangduen Chailert (Lek) is the founder of Elephant National Park,


CHIANGRAITIMES – Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand and Elephant Nature Park RAIDED by Department of National Parks! Officials of Thailand Department of National Parks and the Thai paramilitary Border Patrol Police raid two rescue centers after they received a phone complaint that animals were held in torturous conditions.

On February 8th approximately 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.

Edwin Wiek, founder of wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, and his team of veterinarians and volunteers attend to Miaow, a rescued tiger that's been with the foundation for more than ten years, during his daily therapy bath.

Then On Monday morning, February 13, 60 armed agents from the Thailand Department of National Parks and the Thai paramilitary Border Patrol Police raided non-profit wildlife rescue facility Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand in Petchaburi about three hours southwest of Bangkok.  According to accounts by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, Jansaeng Sangnanork, wife of founder Edwin Wiek, was arrested and escorted by 30 armed agents from the facility after failure to produce requested legal documentation.

The Bangkok Post reports that 450 documents proving legal licensing of the center’s animals were requested to be produced in a three-hour period. When Sangnanork was unable to gather all the paperwork in that timeframe, she was taken into custody.

Officials raided the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand after they received complaints that Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand had custody of undocumented wildlife and that animals were being held in inhumane conditions.  This is not the first time Edwin Wiek and his team have been targeted by such accusations. The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand states on their website that they think that they are being raided in retaliation for drawing attention to recent elephant poaching.  In an exposé for The Nation on January 24th, Wiek specifically mentioned corruption by politicians, government officials and businessmen tied to elephant camps and the cover-up of baby elephant smuggling to “safe houses” near Thailand’s borders and, on February 12, was quoted in The Guardian about a tiger trafficking bust allegedly in connection with several private zoos in Thailand. (See The Guardian and The Nation) see more National Geographic...

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