Urgent - Armed Officials Raid and Confiscate Animals from Two Sanctuaries in Northern Thailand.
The Elephant Nature Park, ENP, cares for elephants who are blind, lame, handicapped, and otherwise scarred from previous lives of abuse. The park has received numerous awards from institutions including the Smithsonian, and the founder, Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert, was named Asian Hero of the Year by Time magazine in 2005.
The ENP has been raided three times in February by armed officials of Thailand’s Dept. of National Parks, DNP. They claim the sanctuary has baby elephants captured from the wild. The ENP sent hair and blood samples to the DNP for DNA testing to prove their babies were born at the park, but this evidence has been ignored. As a volunteer in April ’09, I personally witnessed the birth of one of the babies whom the officials are expected to confiscate.
On February 21, 2012, Lek of the ENP joined Edwin Weik of the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand, WFFT, at a press conference where they exposed the story of baby elephant traders and presented details implicating officials in their capture in the national parks. Both the ENP and the WFFT are non profit animal rescue facilities which are internationally recognized as setting the standard in Thailand for elephant care and wildlife rescue.
In the national parks, mother elephants, protecting their babies, are brutally murdered and the babies stolen. Babies fetch up to US$32,000 to work in Thailand’s lucrative tourist trade where they are brutalized into ‘learning tricks’ and providing rides for tourists.
Edwin Weik’s wife has been jailed and animals confiscated, some endangered and many were receiving veterinary care.
We petition for the immediate and safe return of all animals and the cessation of intimidation of these sanctuaries.
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