The Wildlife Friends Foundation Launches Largest Tiger Rescue In Thailand As Phuket Zoo Closes

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) is carrying out the largest tiger rescue in Thailand’s history as the renowned wildlife animal welfare and rescue organisation prepares to take custody of 11 tigers and two bears handed over by Phuket Zoo.

WFFT founder and director Edwin Wiek confirmed the news.

Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation

“We are finishing off the new side enclosures for the Tigers right now, and we will be ready to pick up the first 4-6 in the coming week. We are still waiting for documents to move the Tigers, but I am pretty sure this ill be done by the end of the week.” Mr Wiek told Protect All Wildlife.

Part of the area at the WFFT site in Phetchaburi that the tigers and bears from Phuket Zoo will soon call home. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

Mr Wiek explained that he and Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, founder of the Elephant Nature Park, discussed the handover of the animals with the Phuket Zoo owners.

The zoo has been hard hit by the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the facility without tourist visitors for nearly two years.

Despite previous encounters between WFFT and Phuket Zoo over the conditions many of the animals were kept in at the zoo, the parties set aside any animosity in order to determine the safe future for the animals, Mr Wiek noted.

Horrifying scenes inside abandoned Phuket zoo where starving animals are forced to live in squalor

“They were genuinely very concerned about the animals. They said they had refused offers for the animals’ skins and bones,” he said.

“As WFFT has the facilities and expertise to take care of large carnivores and currently houses more than 30 other bears, it was concluded that WFFT could provide the best life-long care for these animals which require urgent rehoming,” Mr Wiek explained. 

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) will also rehome two bears from Phuket Zoo. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

The rescue and rehoming of 11 Tigers to a sanctuary will be the biggest Tiger rescue in Thailand’s history. However, due to the financial impact of COVID-219, WFFT must first raise the funds required to rescue these 13 animals. As such WFFT is asking for financial support to undertake this historic rescue, he noted.

“This rescue will be no small feat for WFFT. The financial resources required to rescue and transport 13 large animals from Phuket to WFFT alone will be significant,” Mr Wiek said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have received more calls than ever from entertainment venues who cannot afford to feed their animals anymore. We try to help as many as we can. The fact is, though, that without financial support, we cannot help more.

“We are urging our friends in Phuket, in Thailand and around the world to please help with what will be a huge rescue, not only for WFFT, but for Tigers in Thailand,” he said.

WFFT is a registered foundation in Thailand. 

“In Thailand, like in every country in the world, animals are abused and exploited for profit and human gratification. There are many examples of animal exploitation within the tourist industry, for example, photo prop animals, animals performing in degrading shows, and elephant camps. Furthermore, there is still a thriving illegal trade in wild animals for pets and medicine,” the organisation explains on its website.

The top three major goals of the organisation are:

  • To rescue and rehabilitate captive wild animals and provide high-quality care and a safe environment for them to live for the rest of their lives, in a setting as close to nature as possible.
  • To campaign against all forms of animal abuse and exploitation in Thailand, work towards ending the illegal pet trade and discourage people from keeping all wild animals as pets. WFFT actively seeks to combat the illegal wildlife trade and to rescue animals from poor conditions or exploitation from human entertainment.
  • To provide veterinary assistance to any sick or injured animal; wild or domestic.

To learn more about Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), visit the official website here: https://www.wfft.org/

This video shows various animals including Tigers, Bears, and Alligators left for dead at Phuket Zoo due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The tourism industry all over the world has definitely been brought to a sudden halt but the animals who played a major role in that have also been abandoned. The clip was originally uploaded on YouTube and was shot by an Australian named Minh Nguyen, who lives and works in Thailand. 

“We are still fundraising for the tigers, and hopefully we will get some more much needed financial support in the weeks to come.” told Protect All Wildlife.

If you like to help fund this amazing rescue operation please donate ANY amount, large or small, at Phuket Zoo Animal Rescue.

Please SHARE to raise awareness to this urgent rescue. You can also SIGN UP to receive News and Updates straight to your inbox.

Author: ProtectAllWildlifeBlog

"The Greatness Of A Nation And Its Moral Progress Can Be Judged By The Way Its Animals Are Treated" - Mahatma Gandhi I am a wildlife advocate and I am 100% dedicated to raising awareness about wildlife crime and its effect on the environment. Whether it be doing everything to stop poaching, calling for animal free circuses or ending the cruel treatment and exploitation of animals I will do everything I can to highlight it. I am the proud foster parent of orphan Elephants Lentili at TheDavid Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kavala at Elephantopia. I am a proud trustee of the Lion conservation charity LionAid.

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