A Dutch animal activist living in Thailand has spent four days in a chimpanzee cage to raise 20,000 GBP for his foundation.
Edwin Wiek, 54, originally from the Dutch city of Breda, has been living in Thailand since 1989.
To raise 25,000 USD (20,000 GBP) for his organisation Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), Wiek decided to lock himself in the same cage as the rescued chimpanzee ‘Canoe’ was kept in for 32 years.
Wiek entered the cage on 10th July and was released four days later after raising the required funds.
His foundation works to help animals that have fallen victim to poachers or traffickers, including monkeys, elephants, crocodiles and bears.
The organisation mainly relies on donations and the efforts of hardworking volunteers, but has seen a drop since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wiek explained: “We have lost 85 percent of our earnings since March. Our savings are drying up while more and more animals are in need of our help.”
Wiek told Newsflash how he came up with the idea of locking himself in Canoe’s cage to raise money: “We got the idea after rescuing Canoe the chimp a few months ago in Bangkok and we brought him back in his cage on the back of our truck.
“Over a few beers one evening, we discussed the idea and decided to do it.”
While raising money in the cage, Wiek gave donors the option to ‘make or break’ him with special demands.
Those interested in making him would pay for kind acts, such as giving him snacks or drinks or a shower.
Those interested in breaking him would have to pay for unkind acts, such as hosing him down, putting someone in the cage with him, poking him with a stick, and waking him up when he was sleeping. It also included blasting loud noises or making him wear a dress.
He explained: “Only three people wanted to ‘break’ me, everyone else wanted me out as soon as possible. That was actually funny to see, nobody wanted to hurt me!
“We made the break options more expensive. It worked out well I think.”
Wiek told Newsflash: “A few people made up their own options, like singing songs and putting on a dress. I got 900 USD (718 GBP) for singing and 1,200 USD (957 GBP) for wearing a dress and wig.
Following his successful campaign, Wiek said that the Thai “Natural Resources and Environment Minister has asked for a meeting soon, so that has to be a good thing.”
After spending four days in the cage, Wiek told Newsflash: “I don’t feel too bad, but my legs, knees and back are painful. I didn’t go crazy, but I started to understand the feelings of wild animals in cages a lot better during this lockup.
“The first thing I did when I got out of the cage was to go and see Canoe and apologise for what people have done to him over the years. He was very happy to see me after five days in total.”
To learn more about WFFT, visit www.wfft.org or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/wildlifefriendsfoundation.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.