.
 

INTERNATIONAL ACTION against the
Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo Project

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Intl. Alliance against the Kenya / Thailand wildlife deal

15.000 signatures were already handed over to the Kenya President as well as to the Thai Government - please continue to support the struggle !

 

Updates On Wildlife Rendition Deal !

14.12.2005

 

14.12.2005  Groups sue over Thai game deal

15.12.2005  Decisive step ahead against Kenya/Thai wildlife deal

17.12.2005  Maasai Stage Protest Over Thai Wildlife Gift

20.12.2005  KENYA WILDLIFE WILL HAVE PEACE

21.12.2005  Court halts animal sale to Thailand

22.12.2005  Kalembe gets court order halting Thai wildlife deal

24.12.2005  Blows traded over animals deal

10.01.2006  Letter to the Editor of the East African Standard, Nairobi

 

Update: 10.01.2006

Animal Trade

Letter to the Editor of the East African Standard, Nairobi
(published only in the print edition of 10. Jan. 2006)

Dear Sir,

I was surprised to read Dr Loefler's article re trade in wildlife, especially as he is a former chairman of the East African Wildlife Society.

I do agree that there are some zoos in the world that are excellent, but they are few and even the "excellent" ones have grey areas where some species are concerned.

Captive bred animals can adapt well to a life in a zoo when they have known no other and they are allowed to indulge to some extent in their natural behaviour patterns, but wild trapped animals are different. Wild animals natural survival instincts tell them strongly to beware of man. The stress they go through during trapping, crating and being unable to flee from the proximity of man is enormous and should not be undertaken lightly and without good reason. Many animals die either during capture and transportation, or if they survive live very short unhappy lives in captivity.

I cannot agree with Dr Loefler that trade in wildlife increases their value and provides incentives for conservation. I have seen giraffes standing in pens in zoos looking listless and dejected, an orang utang in a small cage drinking its own urine much to the disgust of the people staring at it (they do not do that in their natural habitats), and other animals "just there", as my sons who grew up seeing animals in their natural habitat in Kenya, remarked when I took them to see a zoo in UK. To the majority of people zoos are an amusing day out nothing more. And scientific research can only be of real value in an animal's natural surroundings.

It is fashionable these days to critisise groups that speak up for animals' rights and welfare and who try to protect them from the excesses of mankind, perhaps because the truth of what they say makes people uncomfortable. It is true that some fanatics in the animal rights scene have gone overboard and to some extent take away from the credibility of serious animal welfare groups. However in our "only humans and profit matters" materialistic world, animals as sentient beings need a voice to protect them.

The private "zoo" in question in Thailand is in fact a fun park and from information gathered the animals will be under spotlights all night with lots of people staring at them. A nightmare for the poor beasts.

Wild animals belong in the wild. In zoos they lose their dignity and lustre. The attraction of game parks is animals in their natural surroundings living their natural lives, not just being able to say "I have seen a buffalo".

Talking about exporting wildlife to zoos and how it has benefited Kenya does not ring true. In fact wildlife films are what have brought most tourists to Kenya not animals in zoos. We should respect the wild animals and protect them as a valuable national heritage - and leave them alone.  The planet is not only for humans.

Jean Gilchrist,

Director of Animal Welfare,

KSPCA.
Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals

(N.B. Dr. Imre Loeffler tried to bring the trophy hunters of Safari Club International through the East African Wildlife Society back to Kenya).

 

Update: 24.12.2005

ECOTERRA Intl. was interviewed before for the BBC Thai Service, broadcasting into the most remote village in Thailand. We openly could speak our mind and believe that not only the Thai journalist-lady, who led the interview, got the message clearly but actually she and most of her listeners understood and became sympatic to the struggle.

We are very happy that our friends in Thailand stand as strong as the core group of the Coalition against the Thai Wildlife Deal in Kenya. The incident on Thai TV (see below) was reported widely in the Thai and Kenya media.

That Plodrasop, the henchman of PM Thaksin, who got blood on his hands not only from wild animals, became physically aggressive against our Thai friends and wildlife defenders, does not make us wonder. He has no words any more. We wonder only when finally HRH the King of Thailand puts some leach on this roge fellow and his master.

Blows traded over animals deal

DAILY NATION
Story by RICHARD CHESOS and Agencies
Publication Date: 12/24/2005

The controversy over the planned shipping of Kenya's wildlife to Thailand has spilled over to the benefiting country.

A television debate on the plan to move 175 animals to a zoo in northern Thailand ended in blows when proponents attacked animal welfare activists, officials said yesterday.

The scuffle came in the wake of protests by conservationists in Thailand opposed to the proposal to import the animals from Kenya to the Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo.

Their counterparts in Kenya have also opposed the deal.

On Tuesday, the High Court stopped the deal until a case by two wildlife conservation groups was heard.

Mr Justice Joseph Nyamu said the memorandum of understanding signed by ministers from the two countries might not amount to a treaty.

The controversial deal was sealed on November 9 by Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro and Thailand's Natural Resources and Environment minister Yongyut Tiyapairat.

President Kibaki and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra witnessed the signing of the deal at State House, Nairobi.

The wildlife debate was technically stopped in Kenya after the CBO Consortium and the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals moved to court last week.

However, in Thailand, as soon as the broadcast of the heated debate aired on Thursday night ended, two men rushed at two activists and punched them in the face, said Mr Nikom Putra, one of the conservationists.

The fracas lasted several minutes before studio workers could get the situation under control. 

Mr Putra said he planned to lodge a complaint with police.

Studio workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the zoo head, Prodprasob Surasawadee rose from his chair, pointing at the faces of the two conservationists and asking: "What do you want?"

Earlier, Kenya had said it would give the animals to Thailand as a gift to strengthen relations, but conservationists voiced concern about how the animals would be affected by the move. 

Local and international conservationists have also accused the Kenya government of shipping the animals abroad for money, something it has denied.

Among the animals set for export include buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, flamingoes, dik diks, impalas, warthogs, hyenas, antelopes, zebras and marabou storks.

Many Kenya-based conservationists have opposed the export of the wild animals, saying it is wrong for the country to sell its national heritage.

However, Thai ambassador to Kenya Akrasid Amatayakul said recently the deal would be effected only after it was approved by an international convention.

Activists 'assaulted by Plodprasop aides'

Tempers flare at TV debate on Night Safari

BANGKOK POST
http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/24Dec2005_news10.php
POST REPORTERS

Two conservationists yesterday complained they were assaulted by aides of Plodprasop Suraswadi, assistant to the minister of natural resources and the environment on Thursday night. Chaiyaphan Prapasawat, of the Love Chiang Mai Network, and Nikhom Puttha, of Wildlife Fund Thailand, said the incident took place after they had a heated debate with Mr Plodprasop over the controversial Night Safari project during a popular television programme, Tueng Look Tueng Khon, on Channel 9.

Mr Plodprasop attended the TV programme in his capacity as director of Night Safari. The debate focussed on the export of wildlife from Kenya which was eventually suspended by a Kenyan court.

As the programme was about to end, Mr Chaiyaphan read a poem, which imitated zoo animals wailing in distress at the night-time zoo. The activist said Mr Plodprasop was apparently offended by the poem, earlier published in Khao Sod newspaper.

As soon as the lights were dimmed, Mr Plodprasop and his aides stormed towards the two activists who were still seated. Mr Chaiyaphan said some of the aides scolded him and pushed him in the chest. Others dragged Mr Nikhom from his seat.

Before the fracas escalated, cameramen and TV crew stepped in and separated the two sides.

Mr Chaiyaphan said he and Mr Nikhom would be lodging a complaint with police yesterday evening. It was unclear if Mr Plodprasop was being implicated in the complaint.

The conservationist said he punched one of the men in self-defence.

''It appeared Mr Plodprasop wanted to assault me himself but his son stopped him from doing so. Why do we have an assistant to a minister with such violent behaviour?,'' said Mr Chaiyaphan.

The TV crew confirmed the assault, which was tape-recorded.

The crew also noted the number of Mr Plodprasop's aides was abnormally high at more than 10.

Mr Plodprasop could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Nikhom, meanwhile, urged senior state officials to show maturity when facing enquiries from the public. He said the public had every right to learn what the state was doing, adding the Night Safari project, in particular, was questionable in many respects.

Meanwhile, the Love Chiang Mai Network condemned Mr Plodprasop and his aides for their gangland-style behaviour. It also called on the TV crew who witnessed the incident to hand over their tape to authorities for further investigation.

The Love Chiang Mai Network would also file a complaint with the Administrative Court, asking it to suspend the project until its environmental impact was thoroughly studied.

Thai PM accused of giving projects to cronies

Bangkok Post
ANUCHA CHAROENPO
http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/24Dec2005_news02.php

People close to the Thaksin Shinawatra government have been winning development projects in dubious manners in the prime minister's native province of Chiang Mai, media firebrand Sondhi Limthongkul said during his Muang Thai Rai Sapda (Thailand Weekly) talk show at Lumpini park yesterday. Mr Sondhi continued his stinging attack on the Thaksin government during his talk show, the 13th since his programme was removed from state-owned Channel 9 television.

He told an audience of about 40,000 people that some 40 state projects, worth about 20 billion baht altogether, had been launched in Chiang Mai in the past four years and most of them went to people close to the government.

Citing as an example the concession to operate a restaurant at Night Safari Zoo, Mr Sondhi said the 30-year contract went to Deputy Transport Minister Phumtham Wechayachai. He asked why the government did not publicise the bidding contest.

Referring to Mr Thaksin, he said: ''You were born in San Kamphaeng district only. You are not the owner of Thailand. You cannot do whatever you want without telling anyone else.''

He pointed out that the person who won the lion's share of state projects in Chiang Mai was Khanaen Boonsupha, the owner of Chiang Mai Construction Co and father-in-law of Prime Minister's Office Minister Newin Chidchob.

The projects awarded to Mr Khanaen were worth about 1.18 billion baht altogether, he said. Many were road projects including one leading to Chiang Mai international airport.

Chiang Mai Construction won the project to build Highway 121 leading to Chiang Mai's 700th Anniversary Stadium at 106.9 million baht, only one million baht shy of the median price of 107.9 million baht. Another contract was a 490m underpass in the Poi Luang area. The company won it with a quote of 379.6 million baht, only 300,000 baht below the median price.

The firm also won a contract to build a road from Chiang Mai to Lamphun with a quote of 179.6 million baht. The median price was 179.7 million baht.

Mr Sondhi also accused Mr Thaksin of being irresponsible in his capacity as the prime minister, regarding flood problems in the South.

He said the southern provinces were flooded long before Mr Thaksin decided to visit affected locals. His Majesty the King had sent 3,000 bags of necessities to help flood victims in the South, while the ruling Thai Rak Thai party sent nothing.

He also accused Mr Thaksin of allowing extra-judicial killings to take place in the restive far South, and failing to fulfill his pledge to end violence in the region.

Mr Sondhi urged all anti-Thaksin people to show up at his next talk show on Jan 13 to sign a letter demanding Mr Thaksin step down as prime minister.

He also accused Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya of having foreknowledge of the 1997 baht flotation and pointing out that Shin Corp, which used to employ Mr Thanong, had managed to protect its foreign exchange just in time.

 

Update: 22.12.2005

Ministry served court orders barring Thai deal

KENYA TIMES
22. 12. 2005

By Vincent Musumba

TOURISM and Wildlife assistant Minister Kalembe Ndile was yesterday served with a court injunction halting the intended translocation of 175 wild animals to Thailand.

Ndile was served by lawyer Ojwang’ Agina of Agina and Company Advocates and National CBO Council chairman, Tom Aosa.

The event took place at the ministry’s Utalii House offices at 3 pm.

An anxious Ndile said the matter would be forwarded to the Attorney-General for advice.

However, he was reluctant to stamp the court order papers.

Said Ndile: “We will not hurry to make a decision because of the impending case. The papers are in good hands.”

National CBO Council chair, Tom Aosa described the court order as ‘the best end-year gift to all Kenyans and a reason to celebrate Christmas.’

“By obtaining the order we have achieved a tremendous leap towards achieving the goal of halting this insult to our delicate biodiversity. We won’t allow our animals to be mistreated”, he noted.

He promised not to relent until justice is done and added that the court’s decision was a clear indication that someone was listening to them.

The order stays for sixty days, during which period the government cannot move or export the animals.

The translocation was supposed to take place immediately after the signing of the memorandum.

A ruling on Tuesday by High Court judge Justice Joseph Nyamu ordered that the application be certified as urgent.

 

Kalembe gets court order halting Thai wildlife deal

Daily Nation
Story by NATION Correspondent
Publication Date: 12/22/2005

Assistant minister Kalembe Ndile has been served with a court order halting the export 175 wild animals to Thailand.

The deal has been put on hold until a case by two wildlife conservation groups, the National CBO Consortium and the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, is heard.

A Nairobi-based advocate, Mr Ojwang Agina, served the order on Mr Ndile at his Utalii House office at 3 pm yesterday.

Mr Agina, who was accompanied by the consortium's chairman, Mr Tom Aosa, had first walked into the ministry's spokesman's office where he was told that Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro was not in and could therefore not be served with the order.

The two then walked into Mr Ndile's office where Mr Agina served the Wildlife assistant minister with the order.

Rubber-stamp document

Mr Agina requested Mr Ndile to rubber-stamp it as proof that he had received it. To which Mr Kalembe retorted: "I don't need to rubber-stamp the document since these journalists are recording the event...They are my witnesses that I have received it".

Mr Agina then drew Mr Ndile's attention to a penal notice in the order which stated that if Mr Dzoro disobeyed the order, then he would be held in contempt of court and action would be taken against him. The lawyer said he was pleased to meet Mr Ndile and wished him a merry Christmas .

The order was granted by Judge Joseph Nyamu on Tuesday after saying he was satisfied that the memorandum of understanding between Kenya and Thailand might not amount to a treaty. Courts cannot review treaties unless the provisions are incorporated in Kenyan laws or passed as Acts of Parliament.

Mr Dzoro and Thai Natural Resources and Environment minister Yongyut Tiyapairat signed the animal transfer deal on November 9.

 

Update: 21.12.2005

Thai wildlife deal stopped

KENYA TIMES
21. 12. 2005

By John Osoro

THE High Court yesterday barred the government from translocating 175 animals to the Kingdom of Thailand.

The court put on hold the intended translocation pending the hearing of an application by a group of wildlife conservationists.

Justice Joseph Nyamu said the applicants had raised “an arguable case that needs to be heard” before the action by the concerned ministry commence.

The judge agreed with the applicants’ submissions that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into between the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and its Thailand counterpart cannot be translated into a treaty.

He said the MoU does not make any references to any of the international laws in its guideline for implementation.

Justice Nyamu granted the leave period for 60 days, which would be extended depending on the defendants’ wish in their defence.

Unless the issues raised by the conservationists groups are heard inter partes and determined, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife shall remain barred from implementing the said MoU.

The lobby group says in their application that the MoU signed by the parties violated the laws of environmental and conservation management.

The applicants - Self Help Community Based Organisation (CBO) and Kenya Society for the Protection of Care for Animals - says that the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) had no powers to enter into an agreement with the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand over the translocation of the animals.

The conservationists, say the defendants, had breached the Wildlife Conservation Act.

 

Court halts Thai wildlife export deal

Standard, Nairobi

21. 12. 2005
By Judy Ogutu

The High Court has halted the controversial export of animals to Thailand.

Justice Joseph Nyamu issued temporary orders suspending the deal, signed at State House, Nairobi, on November 9. President Kibaki and Thailand Prime minister Thaksin Shanawatra’s signed a deal under which 175 wild animals were to be shipped to the Asian country.

The then Foreign Affairs minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of Kenya and his Thailand counterpart Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhon on behalf of his country.

Nyamu’s order will be operational for 60 days and the court reserves the discretion to extend it. He also gave the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals and two lobbies the go-ahead to seek orders prohibiting the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife from shipping the animals to the Asian country.

The animals include giraffes, flamingoes, hippos, zebras, warthogs, dik-diks, impalas, buffaloes, gazelles, hyenas and jackals.

Nairobi CBO Consortium and Thomas Ondiba Aosa were also given the green light to seek for orders quashing the decision to export the assorted game.

When the matter came up first, Justice Nyamu said the MoU signed between the two countries was a treaty. He postponed the hearing to give all parties an opportunity to satisfy the court whether the MoU was a treaty.

The minister and the Kenya Wildlife Services, an interested party, did not attend the hearing on Tuesday, forcing the court to proceed without them. The applicants, through their lawyer, Mbugua Mureithi argued that the MoU was not a treaty.

A treaty, he added, was an international agreement between states and was governed by international law.

"The object of the treaty is to create binding relations between the parties to it. The MoU is non-binding. The scope of co-operation is subjected to laws of the respective countries in accordance with regulations in force," Mureithi said.

The deal, he added, was an arrangement for mutual development assistance.

Nyamu said the applicants had, on prima facie basis, satisfied the court that the agreement between the two nations might not be a treaty.

The three filed the suit on December 14, saying the minister had commenced steps to identify, capture and move the assorted wildlife animals pursuant to the MoU where the minister undertook to move the animals for custody in zoos in Thailand.

While giving the orders, the judge also directed them to file and serve the application as prescribed. He warned that failure to do so, the order would lapse.

 

Court halts animal sale to Thailand

DAILY NATION, Nairobi
Story by JILLO KADIDA
Publication Date: 12/21/2005

The High Court yesterday stopped the deal to export 175 wild animals to Thailand until a case by two wildlife conservation groups is heard.

Granting the order, Judge Joseph Nyamu said he was satisfied the memorandum of understanding between Kenya and Thailand might not amount to a treaty.

The 60-day order arose from an application by the National CBO Consortium and the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, who demanded a stop to relocating assorted animals to Thai zoos in line with a reported deal between ministers of the two countries.

When the case was filed last week, the judge declined to order a stop, saying the court was not keen on interfering with a treaty.

The court could not review treaties between countries, unless the provisions are incorporated in Kenyan laws or passed as Acts of Parliament, he ruled.

The controversial deal was sealed on November 9 by Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro and Thai Natural Resources and Environment minister Yongyut Tiyapairat. 

And despite protests by local and international wildlife conservationists – who said the transfer would violate the animals' welfare – it was signed at State House, Nairobi, as President Kibaki and Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra watched.

Lawyer Mbugua Mureithi told the court that wildlife conservation and management was legally under the Kenya Wildlife Service, and that the minister was required only to give general or special directions to KWS. "The national heritage should not be left to the disposal of one person or one arm of government," he argued.

The deal was signed without consulting the KWS, Parliament, other interested organs and the public, he said, adding that identifying and capturing the animals had begun.

Yesterday Mr Justice Nyamu noted that the issues raised by the applicants were of national importance. 

After hearing both parties, the judge said the applicants had argued points which defined treaties, and had argued that only KWS was authorised to say whether the animals can be exported.

 

Update: 20.12.2005

Breaking News:

German Text / Text in Deutsch

KENYA WILDLIFE WILL HAVE PEACE

by Correspondents

WTN - 20. December 2005 - 11h00 - Nairobi -

The steadfast core group of the Kenya Coalition and the International Alliance Against the Kenya/Thailand Wildlife Deal achieved a major breakthrough this morning at the High Court in Nairobi / Kenya:

The court ruled, that the Kenyan Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, who signed the deal to export 175 wild animals from the free wildlands of Kenya into a fun-fair and zoo facility in Thailand, as well as the Kenya Wildlife Service, who would have to do the job, can not lay their hands on the wildlife and can not capture or export any wildlife to Thailand. Likewise any other capture or export by owners of private wildlands or ranches would be illegal.

The coming festive season will not see capture-gangs combing the world famous wildlands of Kenya with their splendid savannas and woodlands and unique wildlife populations for easy prey. The peaceful nature will not be disturbed by helicopters with darting vets on board. And the defenders of wildlife also can stay in peace - at least for the near future.

.... continued


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If you want to receive this free article in full as well as further insider information on this issue, please e-mail to aa-africa@gmx.net or reply to this mail with Request Thai Info in the reference line.

 

Update: 17.12.2005

Maasai Stage Protest Over Thai Wildlife Gift

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

December 17, 2005
Posted to the web December 16, 2005

Wanjiru Macharia, Nairobi

More than 500 members of the Maasai community yesterday held a demonstration in Narok to protest the Government's decision to export 175 wild animals to Thailand.

They said they were the gatekeepers of the wild animals since they had lived with and protected them since time immemorial and asked the government to consult the concerned communities before proceeding with the scheme.

Waving twigs and chanting anti-Government slogans, the group said the State should not take any animals from Narok District for the deal.

The chairman of the Narok Communities pressure group, Mr Moses Nkoriompai, said the Government had ran out of ideas on how to make money and had turned to selling off the national heritage.

He said the Government was reneging on its policies on wildlife conservation, and warned that exporting game would damage Kenya's reputation and lead to a decline in tourist numbers.

Addressing the demonstrators at Oloontoto Primary School in Rereshwa near the Maasai Mara Game Park, Nkoriompai said exporting the animals would be biopiracy.

Reading a memorandum signed by 15,000 residents of Narok District, the chairman said it was wrong to shut up a free-range animal in a zoo.

He said the process of capturing wild animals, caging them and transporting them over long distances was a procedure that should only be undertaken when absolutely necessary.

He said the process could result in excessive stress to the animals and even death.

Sidney Quntai, the chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Network, said the notion that there were excess animals in the country was wrong.

He said the wild animal population has been falling over the years due to illegal bush meat trade, encroachment on parks and reserves and excision of forests.

According to a report by the Department of Resource Survey and Remote Sensing in 2004, Kenya's wildlife population declined by 40 to 60 per cent between 1977 and 1994, said Quntai.

He said the massive decline is estimated to be higher due to increased human populations and activities in the animal areas.

"Kenya's wildlife has evolved in our environment for hundreds of thousands of years and it is dangerous to take the animals to alien lands where they are likely to be susceptible to fatal diseases," he said.

Quntai said the Government should encourage tourism in the country to fight poverty instead of promoting its growth elsewhere.

Link: http://allafrica.com/stories/200512160518.html

 

Update: 15.12.2005

Decisive step ahead against Kenya/Thai wildlife deal

- Kenyans, incl. two Kenyan organizations, went to court to stop the dreadful wildlife deal with a Thai fun-fair zoo -

WTN
- correspondents - Nairobi / Bangkok - 14.12.2005

"Enough is enough!", said Kenyans, and have now applied to the courts in Nairobi, Kenya to end the dreadful saga about the ill-conceived wildlife deal with a Thai zoo, which is based on a simple and not legally binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between two ministers. Such a declaration of intent, however, can not be misinterpreted as an international treaty between the two states, as some might try to suggest in order to derail the process against the deal or to helplessly safe the face of government officials.

A treaty is a legally binding agreement under international law concluded by subjects of international law, namely states. A treaty is for example the long-running treaty for British soldiers to train in Kenya, which is just now in a stage, where a majority of Kenyan parliamentarians question if Kenya should prolong it. 

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a legal document describing an agreement between parties. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement, but less formal than a contract.

Examples of simple MoUs - like the Kenya/Thailand deal - include e.g.the Oil for Food program, for which Iraq signed a MoU in 1996, and which has seen a senior UN official being suspended for corruption as well as the son of UN Secretary General Kofi A. Annan being implicated, and which has therefore undergone many changes to the original text. The recently signed Kenya/Thailand MoU therefore can likewise easily be amended or relieved of certain parts - like the now contested wildlife deal contained therein.

The Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA) and the Council of Community Based Organizations (CBO Council), both representing the majority of Kenyan citizens who are against the capture of free ranging wild animals from the Kenya wildlands and their deportation into the man-made confinement within a disputed Thai fun-fair facility, must be applauded for this step, because they actually also contribute in terms of control of damage to the reputation of both countries. But as further this issue is pushed by certain government officials in the service of either side of the deal, as more economic and  face loss is created.

The constant and desperate pushing by the Thai Ambassador to Kenya, however, to get the Kenyan governance moving in terms of capturing now 175 wild animals for the Thai night zoo in Chiang Mai against the will of the Kenyan people is contradicting what Thai Senator Senator Pensak Chagsuchinda (Howitz) stated publicly during her visit to the country. The Senator, who was accompanied by Senator Niboon Shamshoum on a fact finding mission, had proclaimed profoundly that it was not in the interest of the Thai Government to insist on getting wildlife delivered from Kenya.

The senators admitted that their Prime Minister was looking for animals for that private facility in Chianmai, in which he has personal stakes, but they declared that, if the Kenyan people were not in agreement, they would not force the "donation" and would advise the Thai senate to restrict their PM in his dealings of such kind. Apparently the opposite of what was laid out by the senators is true and therefore the persistent pressure by the Thai official shows nothing less than the disrespect of the will of the Kenyan people. That certainly is not a good base for the proclaimed "friendship" between the two so different states and their people.

That the Kenyan people are ready to stand up for their wildlife has been not only clearly shown by the numerous protest rallies of various peoples in the country and the present legal challenge but even through a TV documentary delivering the numerous arguments of the wildlife conservation groups, which was aired by Reuters also into the far corners of Thailand and therefore made it known to the Thai people themselves. Even though the Thai senators did not succeed to have their PM reprimanded by the senate so far, the Thai organizations are urged to step up their side of the protest and to support the head of the Thai senate's environmental committee, Kaewsan Atipho, who want their house to become clean and to scrap the wildlife deal.

The wanted friendship between the people of both countries involved is also not changed with fake "letters to the editor", publicizing in local newspapers the opinion of staged pro-deal supporters allegedly writing from China or elsewhere. All the manipulation will only worsen the rift between the people of Kenya and Thailand and bring more supporters to the internationally called for boycott of Thailand's wares and services.

In order to show their real friendship with the people of Kenya, the Thai governance should have since long stopped to pressurize the Government of Kenya for these animals from the wild, not at least because the Kenyans actually have different and more severe problems at this time after a referendum rejected the proposed new constitution and a deep rift between governance and people's will.

The Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, who had received during the last 10 days twice delegations from the international and the national consortia of organizations, who stand and protest against that deal, had in addition to the numerous legal, ethic, economic, and moral arguments against the proposal outlined in the MoU, to hear eye-witness reports from people who actually had visited the Thai zoos and reported that animals are kept there under the most horrible conditions. One witness spoke of the worst zoo ever  she visited anywhere in her entire life and that in Thailand she saw even a majestic tiger, who was not only just kept in a tiny cage, where he couldn't turn, but in addition was chained inside that cell.

The arguments against that shabby Kenya/Thai wildlife-deal are numerous and the background of the whole story are at least dubious, as one can study on the website of an international wildlife protection organization:
http://www.ecoterra-international.org/sites/anti-chiangmai-night-zoo-1.htm

If the Thais really wanted to show true friendship to the Kenyans, they would abstain from insisting on the wildlife-deal outlined in that memorandum, which hangs like the sword of Damocles over the wild animals of Kenya in their free wildlands. The Thai government representatives could concentrate on actually helping Kenya without such shady deals and without that they force poor local organizations to engage in costly and time consuming campaigns and legal battles to restrain those who believe they could get benefits out of  Kenyan wildlife, captured from the wild and confined to a life behind bars or early death due to neglect and distress during the shipment as well as inside Thailand.

And if the Thai people really would care about the plight of Kenyans and their state they would by all means stop their government officials to engage in such shameful exercises and force them to offer true help without selfish and greedy agendas. Kenyans therefore hope that their true soul-mates in Thailand will now likewise turn up the heat and force the Thai officials to come clean.

Kenyans stand as one people against the capture of even one animal from the wildlands of Africa and its transfer into that night-zoo in Thailand, like they stand against the capture and transport of any African girl into a brothel in Bangkok. The abduction of wild animals from Kenya to Thailand also must be seen in the context of bio-piracy and openly violates the Biodiversity Convention, which actually is a treaty to which both countries are signatories.

Kenyans feel that it would be the biggest shame to allow such also because 19 men on official duty to defend Kenyan wildlife were felled by the merciless bullets of unscrupulous wildlife killers and murderers since 1990 alone and many more in the years before. The death of these honourable men would have been meaningless and useless, if what they defended on behalf of all Kenyans and the natural world heritage at large, could just be signed away today.

Kenyans do also not support the shady deals of some politicians on both sides either, who seem to have an additional, hidden agenda in their co-operation and they speak out against those Kenyan parliamentarians, who just want to buy for Kenya a seat at the UN Security Council and try for this task to gain the support of foreign civil servants by intransparent measures like "pleasing" Thai officials with the signing away of Kenyan wildlife into a private zoo in Chiangmai. And neither do they support the apparent private business-relationships of officials like Thai PM Thaksin, who in his business life is a mobile phone and communications tycoon, with former Kenyan Communications Minister Raphael Tuju, who was now even promoted as Minister of Foreign Affairs by the embattled NARC government of Kenya's President Kibaki.

But while in Thailand even His Royal Highness The King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej has granted leave to his citizens to criticize Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, already death-threats are issued in Kenya to people, who only defend their natural heritage and stand against the cruel export of wildlife from their homelands into an appalling zoo-facility in Thailand, which triggered an international call to boycott Thailand over this.

The boycott of Thailand - that is for sure - and maybe in future also Kenya has gained now another boost.

© WTN 2005

Groups contest Thai wildlife deal

Kenya Times
15. 12. 2005

By John Osoro

WILDLIFE conservationists yesterday moved to court seeking to stop the government from translocating 175 animals to the Kingdom of Thailand.

The lobby groups want a memorandum of understanding entered into between the government of Kenya and Thailand stayed until their application is heard and determined.

The applicants — Self-Help Community Based Organisation (CBO) and Kenya Society for the Protection of Care for Animals — say that the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife and Kenya Wildlife Service had no powers to enter into an agreement with the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand over the translocation of the animals.

The conservationists say in their suit papers that the defendants had breached the Wildlife Conservation Act by allowing to donate and translocate the wildlife to a foreign country.

The plaintiffs in their application filed under a certificate of urgency say the respondents undertook to offer the animals without following the laid down procedures as contained in the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999.

The Act provides that the government of Kenya ought to have assessed the impact caused by the translocation on the biological diversity on the parks and other areas where the animals might be removed to.

They say that the respondents ought to have submitted such report to National Environmental Management Authority as required under the Act.

The suit supported by an affidavit by the CBO Chairman Mr Tom Ondiba Aosa, further points out that the action by the defendants to donate and translocate the animals to zoos in the Kingdom of Thailand contravenes the International Trade in Endangered Species of wildlife.

He said the agreement was entered without following the procedures that regulate translocation of such animals from their natural habitat.

When the applicants appeared before Justice Joseph Nyamu, they sought the court’s intervention over the purported MoU entered into between Kenyan Minister for Tourism and his counterpart from Thailand.

The plaintiffs, through their lawyer Mbugua Mureithi, submitted that procedure was not followed when the said MoU was signed.

Justice Nyamu, however, ordered the applicants to serve the application to the respondents and directed that the matter be heard inter partes on December 20.

Mr Aosa says that the defendants ought to have obtained approval from Parliament before the deal could be entered.

The applicant further wants the decision entered on November 9, 2005 be stopped until the suit filed against the respondents is heard and determined.

Lobbies ask court to stop wild animals deal

Daily Nation
Story by WAHOME THUKU
Publication Date: 12/15/2005

Two wildlife conservation lobby groups have moved to court to stop the export of wild animals to Thailand.

Nairobi CBO Consortium, and Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals filed an application at the Nairobi High Court and were allowed to sue the Government over the deal.

But the court declined to grant their request to stop relocation of assorted animals to Thai zoos over an agreement between the two countries.

After hearing the submissions by their lawyer, Mr Mbugua Mureithi, judge Joseph Nyamu said the court would not be keen to interfere with a treaty between two countries.

The court could not review treaties between countries unless the provisions were incorporated in the Kenyan laws or passed as Acts of Parliament, he ruled.

The controversial agreement was sealed on November 9 by Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro and the Thai minister for Natural Resources and Environment Yongyut Tiyapairat. It was signed despite protests by the local and international wildlife conservationists, who claimed the transfer would violate the animals' welfare. 

It was signed at State House, Nairobi, in the presence of President Mwai Kibaki and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Mbugua told the court that the conservation and management of the wildlife was legally under the Kenya Wildlife Service and the minister was only required to give general or special directions to the KWS director.

"The national heritage of this country should not be left to the disposal of one person or one arm of the Government," he argued.

He said the deal was signed without consulting the KWS, Parliament, other interested organisations or the public.

The process of identifying and capturing the animals for export to Thailand had began, the court heard.

Judge Nyamu noted that the issues raised by the applicants were of national importance. He asked them to serve the documents to the minister and the KWS so that the other parties could go and argue on how the court would treat the memorandum. The case will be heard on December 20.

Update: 14.12.2005

Groups sue over Thai game deal

Standard
Wednesday December 14, 2005

By Judy Ogutu and Renson Mnyamwezi

Controversy surrounding the decision to export 175 animals to a zoo in Thailand has spilled over to the courts.

The Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals and two other organisations have filed a suit seeking to stop the deal.

The three applicants want the court to issue an order temporarily stopping the deal reached in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Governments on November 9, 2005.

The lobby group, Nairobi CBO Consortium and Thomas Ondiba Aosa wants the court to give them the go-ahead to seek for orders prohibiting the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife from shipping the animals to the Asian country. The Kenya Wildlife Service was named in the suit as an interested party.

The applicants also want the court’s permission to quash the decision to export the assorted animals from Kenya to Thailand.

In an urgent application, their lawyer Mbugua Mureithi says the minister has commenced steps to identify, capture and move the animals.

Justice Joseph Nyamu declined to issue any orders, but directed the parties to serve the suit papers and appear before him on December 20 for an inter parties hearing.

Meanwhile more than 1,000 residents of Mwatate Division in Taita Taveta District on Wednesday demonstrated against the intended export of the animals.

Led by Youths for Conservation Programme official, Joseph Righa, the residents asked President Kibaki to shelve the programme and consult widely.

‘’Tourism is an integral part of Kenya’s economy and we must keep our wildlife as protected heritage for our own benefits,’’ said Mr Wilson Mwangombe, the Kenya Wildlife and Conservation and Management Network co-ordinator.

http://www.eastandard.net/print/news.php?articleid=33662

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