Connect with us

People

Profile: Edwin Wiek and his love for animals

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Edwin Wiek, 50, is the founder and director of Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand (WFFT).

WFFT is based in Petchaburi and Laos, but Edwin has been involved in several animal rescue cases in Phuket. The latest case is that of Milo, an orangutan that was freed from the Phuket zoo and found abandoned in a forest.

In 2008, Edwin and the WFFT were involved in the rescue of 12 orangutans found in a sub-standard zoo on the island. After many months of campaigning, the orangutans disappeared, only to be found in cages on the highway between Phuket and Phang Nga in February 2009.

Edwin is originally from Holland, where he was serving in the military. He first arrived in Thailand in 1989 to work with a fashion accessories company.

“We had about 200 employees and imported fashion accessories into Thailand. Two years later, I quit this job and decided to start my own company by the name of ESA manufacturing. Things were going well, until I experienced a life-changing incident in 1999,” says Edwin.

“In October 1999, I was driving home late one night from a seminar in Chumphon to my house in Cha-Am, Petchaburi Province. I fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree. I wasn’t even wearing a seat belt. I was conscious the whole time and could feel that I was bleeding. I just left my car there, caught a ride home and crawled into bed. In the morning, my neighbor asked my wife what happened to me, as he had seen my car 20km from Cha-Am in a ditch. That is when they found me asleep with blood on the bed.”

Edwin says that this near-death experience made him reevaluate his life.

“From that moment, I realized that we never know when we’re going to die, so we should do what we love. Personally, I’ve loved animals since I was a child. When I was seven years old, it was a dream of mine to be an animal rescuer, but we all know that in the real world it’s not always possible to do what you dream of,” says Edwin.

In 2000, Edwin decided to sell out his company and use the money to start WFFT. He first started out with two Thai friends by caring for stray animals from temples. Now the foundation has grown considerably, employs more than 124 staff members and operates from two offices – one in Thailand and another in Laos.

WFFT has several different projects, including animal rescue, rehabilitation and veterinary assistance to wild animals in Thailand. It also operates a rescue center and wildlife refuge, including an elephant refuge.

“The more I learn about people, the better I like animals. Animals are very much like humans. They have a life, and they want to be free and comfortable. They need to be taken care of when they are sick, just like we do. I think what we are doing at WFFT is beneficial for society,” he says.

“WFFT has received a lot of support and funds, both within Thailand and from international institutes. I have been travelling around the world to places such as Australia, the US and so on, to inform people of what we are doing at WFFT. The support has been tremendous so far.

“I will keep doing this until I get old, maybe for another 15 years or so. I have earned enough for myself, so I feel it’s important to give something back to society,” he says.

— Kongleaphy Keam

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Cambodia2 mins ago

Rollout of Covid-19 vaccination for teenagers gets underway in Cambodia

Phuket27 mins ago

Man goes missing off Freedom Beach, Phuket

Phuket27 mins ago

Phuket tourism sector calls for island to be “green-listed” for foreign tourists – VIDEO

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Guides38 mins ago

Phuket’s best day trips and tours

Business47 mins ago

What is so important about the Sandbox?

Tourism49 mins ago

Thailand’s foreign tourist numbers expected to plummet during 2021

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Central Thailand1 hour ago

Nurse dies of Covid-19 a week after receiving first dose of Sinovac

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 18,901 new cases and 147 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Government says ongoing vaccination and obeying the rules will drive infections down

Insurgency14 hours ago

Suspected insurgent wanted for murder killed by forces in Pattani

Thailand16 hours ago

Phang Nga reopening and “Phuket Sandbox” island hop extensions postponed

Best of16 hours ago

Bangkok’s 5 best SHA Plus Certified hotels

Best of17 hours ago

Top 5 steakhouses in Phuket

Thailand17 hours ago

Bangkok Train Market official says they will reopen

Thailand17 hours ago

August vaccination plan: 80% of Bangkok residents; open to general public, expats

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending