WARF and CWI
WARF is an organisation supported by the CWI and this word document came my way while communicating with a couple of NGO's about the tiger temple. One of them told me it was not in their interest to publish it and I took that to mean it would be damaging to their own reputation. I found many times how vindictive some of these organisations can be and I would accuse them of being extremist because they have no diplomacy skills, just an agenda at all costs, and by all costs I mean they are willing to risk lives. They are little better than terrorists and when I used that expression with Edwin Weik he displayed a tantrum way beyond appropriate using tactics to scare the crowd into standing by his argument despite its major flaws. Whenever you stoop to intimidation you are using terror tactics. And when it comes to animal activists they don't stoop much lower and the author of this document knows it. She isn't scared, but neither does she want these organisations on her case despite blowing the whistle on WARF.
WARF (Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand)
I recently went on a trip to Thailand to write an article about animal rescue in an underdeveloped country. While there I had the opportunity to visit many places, meet many wonderful people, and learn about Thailand's fascinating culture. On a visit to Bangkok I heard about WARF and decided to go check out their different projects all over the country.
Unfortunately things didn't turn out the way I expected, after visiting a couple of their projects I was disappointed. I started to do some research and I contacted many people to learn more about the history of WARF. I found out a very dark and dangerous past that seemed to have been put aside and forgotten about for many years. After discovering the truth about WARF I couldn't, and shouldn't, leave it hidden and forgotten like it has been. People have the right to know how WARF became the 'wildlife animal rescue foundation' it is today.
According to the "Primate Info Net" (http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/), WARF is affiliated with many different organizations: The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (GRP) The Highland Farm, The Krabok Koo Gibbon, Macaque & Bear Rescue Centre, Lopburi Zoo and Wild Animal Rescue Center, Ayutthaya Elephant Camp and Bang Pakong Bird Sanctuary.
How did WARF get involved with all of these projects? It's a question that could be dangerous to answer
The GRP in Phuket:
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project initially looks like a worthwhile project. But if you dig a little deeper and discover how the project got into WARF's hands, you may think differently. I contacted someone who wishes to remain anonymous. She or he received a letter from someone who was intimately connected with the project and explained to us the early days of the GRP. We can back up these claims if called upon to do so, however due to the nature of the accusations; we wish to keep the source of the information as private as possible. We are concerned for the safety of the whistle-blowers
Terrence Dillon (TD) was an American zoologist who started the gibbon rehabilitation project with the help of the Asian Wildlife Group (AWG) in 1992. In June 1993, after releasing the first family of gibbons on Kho Boi (it was supposed to be a Royal Forestry Reserve - void of all inhabitants - with a solitary ranger watching over the island) TD stayed on the island to check on the gibbons the following days. During the first night, TD was awakened by the sound of a chainsaw on the other side of the island, TD woke the ranger with the shot gun and they went looking for the chainsaws. The ranger seemed to be very reluctant. By the time they located the site the people had fled and left behind their chainsaws and a huge teak tree they were carving up. Ultimately, TD discovered that the Royal Forestry Reserve islands were being regularly visited by pirate loggers. During the following months, the loggers became bolder and attempted to kill one of TD's Thai assistants by trying to run him over in a long tail boat. TD filed a complaint with the Royal Forestry Department at Phuket, but got no where. The person in charge of the department already knew what was going on in the forest, as he was being paid off by a powerful old Thai-Chinese family doing the illegal logging. This old Thai-Chinese family started WARF in 1990. The Forestry Official alerted the family, and TD was placed on a hit list. Soon, poison was slipped into TD's drink and he died. Here is the story of the events that took place the night TD died:
A week before his death, TD was healthy, robust and full of life. He had a new girlfriend and despite the problems with the Forestry department's corruption, TD was very optimistic. The night of TD's death, he went alone to an American restaurant to eat dinner, and wandered down to "Rock Hard," a go-go bar owned by an American. TD met with several ex-pats there. Around 1AM TD wandered out of Rock Hard and walked down to the "Cat Ballout Bar" a quiet bar where he usually liked to have a Sangtip (Thai Whiskey) and soda before going home. TD was not a heavy drinker. The place was pretty quiet - there was maybe one other customer there. TD sat down at the bar and ordered a beer, not his usual drink. As the bartender turned to get his beer, he heard TD say "Boy, do I feel tired". At which point TD crossed his arms and laid his head down on the bar. When the bartender returned with a beer - he couldn't rouse TD - he had passed away. Everybody thought TD died of heart failure and an autopsy wasn't performed on him. Many people believe TD was poisoned with arsenic, a common method used in Thailand to get rid of ex-pats - it has all the symptoms of heart failure and is apparently difficult to detect unless you specifically look for it.
TD had a female Thai assistant in her early thirties named Mun-Rat. She was very outspoken about TD's death and told everyone she thought it was murder. Not long after, her pick-up truck was discovered at the bottom of a cliff with her in it - her head had been decapitated. The police wrote it off as 'drunk driving,' but the night of her death Mun-Rat had dinner with someone who confessed Mun-Rat didn't have a single drink during their meal together. According to the people that knew Mun-Rat, someone deliberately ran her off the road.
After TD's death, the police arrested his 3 Thai assistants at the Gibbon Project; the reason for this was unclear. WARF seized that opportunity to get their hands on the GRP and this is how WARF bought it from AWG (Asian Wildlife Group), they didn't really have the choice since nobody was left there to look after the animals. Later on, the Thai assistant was released by the police. AWG and WARF are no longer working together, possibly due to what transpired between them.
WARF in Bangkok, the foundation which controls the GRP, eventually assigned an Australian conservationist, Patrick Cullen, to take TD's place. He lasted barely a year before he got fed up with WARF's corruption and resigned. One of the Thai Director's relatives, named Preecha, took Patrick's place. Preecha has no qualifications for the job other than an elementary school Thai teacher's certificate. His main job is to "skim" money off the contributions coming in regularly from the tourists and other donors, sending this money to Bangkok where it's ultimately pocketed by his relative. Very little remains at the project. Fortunately for the Gibbons, some people have managed to keep certain contributions out of Preecha's hand - getting the equipment and supplies so desperately needed at the project. A few years later, Preecha was sent to Ranong and Ar took Preecha's job.
The GRP is the main source of income for WARF, splitting the money between all the different projects. According to the GRP staff, the benefit from the shop they own in Phuket goes directly to the Gibbon project . The money from volunteers, ISV (International Student Volunteers), or donations goes to all other projects. During high season when there is a lot of tourists coming to Phuket the income from the shop and donations altogether average 20,000 Baht a day, which is an average of 600,000 Baht a month. During low season the income can go down to 8,000 Baht a day which is an average of 250,000 Baht a month. Volunteers come and go all year round, and pay different prices to come to the project depending on many factors. It can go from no income at all to about 150,000 Baht a month when ISV (International Student Volunteers) are around. The income from volunteers used to be much higher before when they had the space for about 30 volunteers at a time. WARF used to make enough money to pay the few staff they had at the time when they took over from AWG. They didn't need sponsors back then and most of the money wasn't being spent on upgrading the GRP to make it bigger. It is unclear where all this money was going. WARF now spends money every month on the different projects; on the rent of the houses, rent of land, staff salaries, vet expenses, maintenance of cages, and other expenses. These expenses are around 600 000 Baht a month which is the amount earned during high season a few month a year. The rest of the year the gibbon project doesn't earn enough money to be able to support WARF expenses. This is the reason why WARF looked for sponsors to pay staff salaries and this is where the US Fishery and Wildlife Department Services comes into play. This company is paying for most of WARF expenses; the benefit from donation, shop and volunteers now goes somewhere else which is not toward the animals. I am not in a position to be able to give more details about money and sponsors but if anyone in power like the Thai police or the government wanted to dig a little into the GRP or WARF bank statement they would find the proof necessary to back up these accusations.
WARED (Wild Animal Rescue Education Desk) in Ranong
"At the beginning of 2001 WARF began yet another ambitious project. Known as the Wild Animal Rescue and Education Project, at Baan Talae Nork, 80kms south of Ranong, this project is now already up and running. WARF, earlier this year purchased a site close to a village where it has already built a schoolhouse, education centre and volunteer accommodation. In addition the Royal Thai Forestry Department have generously donated 600 rai of pristine mountainous rain forest, immediately behind the WARF site, which will provide an ideal location to re-house animals requiring long-term care. Working in conjunction with WARF's Gibbon Re-habilitation Project (GRP), Phuket, just 200kms to the south, the centre here will focus both on education, local village participation and development as well of course providing a sanctuary for endangered species. Funding for Phase 1 has already been achieved, with the purchase of land, the building of the education centre and accommodation. Phase 2 will involve the building of quarantine enclosures, gibbon islands, further animal enclosures and additional volunteer accommodation. Phase 3 calls for a mobile schoolhouse that can tour the remote rural areas of the province. The total budget 10m baht and WARF are actively seeking major funding sources to complete this important project." WARF Website Phase 1 and 2 are almost complete at the opposite of what it says on the website, the gibbon islands have been built 3 years ago, a new clinic has been built after the generous donation of the Deloitte company. A quarantine area is still needed as well as a van to educate the villages around but this doesn't cost 10 million baht. "WARF has an all-volunteer animal rescue team that consists of trained volunteers, who are on call 24 hours per day. WARF responds to calls from the Royal Forestry Department, the police and concerned individuals. Due to generous donation by Ford, and by the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) who each donated a 4 wheel drive vehicle, WARF now operate two Mobile Animal Clinics (MAC) used in rescue operations throughout Thailand." WARF website A Mobile Animal Clinic is a van containing a clinic inside to be able to go onsite and operate on any kind of animal, without the need to bring the animal back to the clinic. These 2 vans donated to WARF are therefore NOT Mobile Animal Clinics, they are 2 cars donated to WARF to go and pick up injured animals and bring them back to the clinic. The van donated by RSPCA is now in the GRP in Phuket, where is the other van located?
Similar to the work of TD and AWG in Phuket, Highland farm was set up by a Thai woman, Pharanee Deters and her American husband Bill Deters just a few years after WARF stole the GRP from AWG. Here is the story of how WARF ended up affiliated with the highland farm
"Pharanee and Bill Deters never intended to run a shelter for abused and injured gibbon apes. But since settling on their farm, located near the Burmese (Myanmar) border in a remote corner of Thailand's Tak province, they somehow became a haven for the longlegged, long-armed apes (…)About 1995, we started the sanctuary because more and more people started bringing us gibbons they couldn't care for (…)When she got home, the farm was swarming with roughly 30 police officers, soldiers and media hunting for clues and information. The senior investigating officer took Pharanee inside her house. "I came to look, but they had already moved all the bodies," she says. "In the house there was a big mess in the kitchen; it looked horrible. I can still see the scene, the spot where Bill fell down. There was still a lot of dry blood. It was terrible." Two days later, the police had their man (…)Tui quickly confessed to the crimes, saying he'd simply gone to steal Bill's guns, to sell them on the porous Thai-Burmese border. During the robbery, he claims to have unexpectedly run into Bill, panicked and shot him. He then methodically killed the others - all former co-workers -- to cover his tracks (…)"Tui told the police he killed Noon because she called him by name when she saw him," Pharanee continues in a quiet, strained voice. "The fourth victim was Nailang, a Hmong person from a nearby village who we'd hired to do some welding and help feed the animals. The fifth and final victim was a very nice carpenter who'd been building a new guest residence here. "Tui shot each person two times in the head with two different guns. That's what they (police) said but I don't believe it," she says. Pharanee does not believe Tui acted alone (…)"Bram said he saw a man with a gun, then he ran away and hid in the closet of the main house," explains Pharanee. "He hid in the closet until nighttime. When he came out he said he saw three or four flashlights outside, which mean Tui had many people to help him move the guns. (…)"Even the police said that one person carrying two pistols to shoot at the same time is strange because one gun was a .22 caliber and the other one was a .357, quite a big gun," Pharanee says. "They said a .357 is very difficult to shoot. You have to use two hands to handle that gun unless you're a professional and Tui was not. It doesn't make sense. If it was only one person, the others would have heard the shots and run. The official line is that it was only Tui, because he maintains he was the only one. A lot of people don't believe it, but the police said that's how it was. (…)Bill was protecting Highland Farm and the kids. It's all he cared about. I think if he were here today he would say, "Fight for your life, your beliefs and your dreams."" Pharanee is trying (…) Highland Farm and Gibbon Sanctuary remains open for business."
The Krabok Koo
"In 1994, a joint operation started with the Royal Forestry Department and WARF at Krabok Koo. The Krabok Koo project, situated 150kms east of Bangkok, shelters gibbons, macaques, Asiatic black bears and Malayan sun bears that have either been abandoned or confiscated by the authorities. The goal being to care for captive species, to rehabilitate them, to educate and to provide facilities similar to the Phuket project. Krabok Koo is on 180 acres of land provided by the Royal Forestry Department. They took over control of this project in 1998 and it now supports a total of over 600 animals" WARF website
"The wildlife center and sanctuary at Krabok Koo that we were operating with the government has been stalled for 2 years due to financial problems." http://www.global500.org/lvejjajiva.html
This project, which started with the help of WARF and the royal forestry department, didn't work as well as WARF had hoped so they decided to give it up to the royal forestry department and concentrate on something that would bring them more advertisement and income.
"In 1995 another joint project was established in cooperation with the Royal Thai Army at Lopburi. Situated 120 kms north of Bangkok, the rescue centre and zoo house over 300 animals. WARF support the zoo by providing food, veterinary expertise and volunteer staff and also manages a rescue centre that works with cases both inside and outside the zoo." "The Wild Animal Rescue Center Lopburi takes in wild animals, many of which arrive in appalling conditions, confiscated from the illegal pet and animal trade. Our primary goal is to provide shelter for the animals so that the authorities have a place to take confiscated pets and victims of the trade. We hope to enlighten the lives of these animals by providing them with a secure and caring environment." WARF website.
"The LopBuri Zoo, a three-hour drive north of Bangkok, received five orangutans as a donation from a wealthy landowner - how they came into his possession is still unknown. These five are all alleged to have been illegally imported. In April 2006, Nature Alert asked the CITES office in Thailand to investigate this matter and we still await their findings.
We do know this establishment is not an officially recognized zoo; it is a 'rescue centre' of the lowest possible standard, run entirely by the Thai military. When visited by Nature Alert in November 2005, all the orangutans remained locked up in a cave-like cage with barely any natural daylight, the keeper had gone away for a couple of days and no one else was allowed to let them out into the fresh air for exercise. As many as nine orangutans were left to bake and sweat it out in these dark caves for at least two days late in 2005." http://www.born-to-be-wild.org/html/thailand.html
Is WARF supporting the places that look after animals, or are they supporting places that make money off illegal trade with neighboring countries?
Monkey Feeding Project, Lopburi
"WARF has set up a program to provide food provisions to the macaques, called the "Monkey Feeding Project ". Everyday WARF employees prepare food and take it to the same location at the same time, between 10.00 and 14.00. The objective was to teach the monkeys when and where to expect food everyday, and to try and minimize the negative effects they have on the community by providing adequate food for the population." WARF website
"Currently WARF operates four different wildlife sanctuaries that are focused on providing appropriate housing and care for animals placed under their protection. WARF maintain a small salaried staff at the office in Bangkok, the GRP in Phuket, the Wild Animal Rescue and Education Project at Baan Talae Nork and most recently at the Wildlife Rescue Centre and Animal Hospital at Lopburi." WARF Website
Ayutthaya Elephant Trekking
"Ayutthaya Elephant Camp is located at Khum Khun Paen next to Wat Mongkonbophit. Elephants here take visitors to view architectural sites and the island. At the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp, there are elephant shows by working animals hauling logs from the forest. Elephant riding is also available for rides along the Ping riverbank." http://www.thailandcentral.com/Tt2do.html
"Ayutthaya Elephant Camp continues to propel the historical values associated with elephants. In yester years when the modern ways of commuting from one place to another were not there then elephants were used as a mode of transportation. With passing times this basic use disappeared. But in the current scenario it is very much enjoyed for pleasure. In fact great numbers of tourists flock to relish the majestic ride on elephant's back." http://www.travour.com/travel-to-thailand/ayutthaya-attractions/ayutthaya-elephant-camp.html
"The Elephantstay in Ayutthaya is a fantastic way for you to get hands on experience and make a real difference to the lives of our old elephants. Stay in the most exciting, innovative, working elephant village in Asia, dedicated to conserving elephants, only one hour from Bangkok." http://www.elephantstay.com/
"They are just cross-eyed bored" says Australian Lynn Gardner, a volunteer at the Ayutthaya elephant camp, Thailand. The babies, aged three, four and five were rocking back and forth incessantly in their miniature shed - the only possible movement open to them as they pull all the chains that hold their legs down the ground. The visitors are a welcome distraction to the babies but their rocking doesn't stop. Elephants are great wanderer and this state of immobility has brought about the "stereotypic" behavior when they are immobilized, a vet volunteering his services at the camp for a month inform us that elephants are highly intelligent and social animals and the lack of mobility and opportunity to interact with one another causes them deep distress" http://www.thingsasian.com/stories-photos/1990
WARF is advertising that they are looking after injured or abused animals. But is supporting an elephant trekking place, which still uses elephants for shows and trekking, the best way to look after an old elephants? Do these elephants not deserve a retirement free of work?
"Forest Fire Protection Project, Chiang Mai: WARF's newest project is up and running, in association with The Forest Fire Control Division. NOK Flying Club pilots and members are invited to participate in reporting outbreaks of forest fires in Chiang mai and Lamphun Provinces. This information should be passed to the Forest Fire Control Division (DNP) in Chiang mai - Hotline 1362 - who will take appropriate action. Wildlife habitat Project, Chiang Mai:Together with support of NOK Flying Club and the Royal Thai Forestry Department, the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand (WAR) are setting up a joint venture in Northern Thailand to undertake an assisted aerial natural forest regeneration project. The Kingdom of Thailand recognizes that sustainable development is not possible without sustainable forest management (SFM). Therefore, the kingdom attaches great importance to forests that are sustainably managed, with due care to the environment while providing economic, cultural, spiritual and social benefits to society." WARF website
These 2 projects are one in the same. So what is WARF doing exactly? Did they pay for the plane or for the pilot to control the forest fire? If this is the job of the DNP, why is WARF spending money there when the 2 main projects (the GRP in Phuket and Ranong) need money to look after their animals. Both projects need new cages, new medical equipment, a quarantine area, and more land to be able to take in more animals. Why is the money not spent on what is needed first, such as the animals already in the projects? Why is WARF still asking for money from sponsors to finish phase 3 of Ranong when they spend money on projects WARF didn't start?
"Andaman Coastline Monitoring: study of Distribution, Ecology and Population of Endangered Marine Animals and Sea Grasses using Aerial Surveys: Over the last few years it has become increasingly evident that many sea creatures around the Andaman Coastline are under threat due to loss of habitat from environmental damage (2004 Tsunami, global warming, monsoons), marine activity by the tourist, fishing and fossil-fuel mining industries and poaching. It is clear that unless urgent action is undertaken to protect these creatures, including dugong, sea turtles, dolphins and whales, they may disappear from the Andaman coastline forever." WARF website
WARF is now trying to get involved with monitoring the Andaman coast line. But why are they spending money trying to develop this project when the GRP in Phuket and Ranong need money to look after animals already in their care?
Note from the author
Due to the nature of this document I do not wish to be contacted by anyone apart from the government or the police if necessary to back up my accusations. I will follow the changes if they have to happen from a distance but this is as far as I wish to go with all of this. All I wanted was to let people know what I found out about WARF. I really hope things will change for the better for all of the animals.
If any Court should wish to see this document I will produce it and the author has assured me she is willing to testify.