Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bangkok Six - 20th anniversary

Dr. Shirley McGreal, OBE, Chairwoman
International Primate Protection League
PO Box 766
Summerville, SC 29484, USA

On 20 February 1990 I received a phone-call from Leonie Vejjajiva,
then with the Wildlife Rescue Foundation of Thailand, telling me that
six baby orangutans and two siamangs had been confiscated on Bangkok
Airport and that help was needed with their care. Smugglers had
stuffed them into crates labelled "Birds" and shipped them to Bangkok
for onward transit to Belgrade in then Yugoslavia, with the final
destination being Russia. Soon IPPL member Dianne Taylor-Snow was in
the air to Bangkok to help the babies.

On this, the 20th anniversary of the confiscation of the babies,
please remember these precious babies whose mothers were shot to
bring them into trade. Remember that this evil trade has not stopped.
At least four of the six babies, three of whom had been shipped
upside-down, died.

The babies' photos were on the cover of the April 1990 issue of IPPL
News, see

Their story is told on pages 4-6 and was continued in many issues of
IPPL News over the five years that IPPL was tracking the case working
to get justice for the babies.

Letters to the late Judge James Kehoe, the judge handling the case
against a US suspect, Matthew Block, appear at

More details of this historic case can be found at
and at

Those involved in smuggling the orangutans included Matthew Block of
Miami (who was sentenced to 13 months in prison in connection with
the crime), Kurt Schafer of Germany (who went to prison on other
wildlife-related charges), Kenny Dekker of the Netherlands, Belgrade
Zoo director Vuk Bojovic, James Lee of Singapore, a notorious
Indonesian dealer who was never charged, and others.

Three of the babies were girls. Think of all the babies they could
have produced in these past 20 years, indeed they should have been
grandmothers by now. Multiple the six by the hundreds of babies who
have since died or been placed in sanctuaries or traded for
entertainment. Innocent victims all.

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