Leonie Vejjajiva

Leonie Vejjajiva

Ms. Leonie Vejjajiva is Founder and President of the non-profit Wildlife Rescue Foundation of Thailand. She operates a sanctuary for primates rescued from abusive situations or confiscated by Thai wildlife authorities. She cares for at least 60 primates, most of them endangered gibbons. Her work is extremely stressful because of the appalling condition in which animals are brought to her. She is now working with Thai wildlife authorities to establish a sanctuary on Government land outside Bangkok. She is constantly working to educate the Thai people and foreign residents not to buy wildlife for use as pets. One of Mrs. Vejjajiva's most remarkable accomplishments was her role in the famous "Bangkok Six" case. This case involved six baby orangutans confiscated at Bangkok Airport on 30 February 1990. The animals were sent to Mrs. Vejjajiva for care. It was learned that the person responsible was an animal smuggler residing in Bangkok who had been involved in illegal trafficking for 10 years, mainly in Australian birds. Mrs. Vejjajiva contacted him and obtained a great deal of detail about the story, which confirmed the involvement of another smuggler who was later indicted. Mrs. Vejjajiva agreed to come to Miami to testify against this smuggler despite threats.

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