The WFFT, Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, is a fantastic place to visit if you are travelling in Thailand and love animals. Not only can you see and learn about some of Thailand’s most spectacular species but you will be supporting an amazing cause at the same time.
At the WFFT animal welfare is the top priority. All of the animals here have been rescued or abandoned by pet owners when they become too difficult to handle. We were told that just the day before our visit a lady had turned up at the sanctuary with an adult gibbon in the front seat of her car. Where possible, the animals at the WFFT are released back into the wild, sadly for those brought up in captivity this isn’t usually an option.
Unfortunately in Thailand there are many tourists ‘attractions’ where visitors are unwittingly contributing to the suffering of animals – elephant riding and posing with animals for photographs are just some examples. WFFT is different, they offer the chance for people to see rescued animals in a responsible way that is cruelty free.
The Full Day Experience at WFFT is designed to allow day trip visitors a chance to learn about the rescued creatures living at the Wildlife Rescue Centre and Elephant Refuge, see our hundreds of animals, and get up close and personal to our elephants in a way which is cruelty-free and does not exploit them. – The WFFT
I visited the WFFT in November 2013 when staying in Hua Hin. If you are staying here or in Cha-am then transport to and from your hotel is included in the 1800 Baht cost of the day as is a Thai buffet lunch.
An air conditioned mini bus picked us up from our hotel at around 8.30 and took around 40 minutes to get to the foundation, during which time we watched videos from National Geographic and Bondi Vet on the vital work that the WFFT do.
Tanya our tour guide was fantastic, she was really informative about all the animals and knew all of their backgrounds, her passion for the WFFT and the work they do was obvious to see. In the morning we were taken round to see the primates and some of the bird species.
Next we had lunch with a Thai buffet to choose from. You eat with the staff and volunteers so it’s a good opportunity to meet them and discuss their work at the WFFT.
After lunch we took one of the rescued elephants for a walk (part of their exercise routine, no chains or forced activity whatsoever), feeding it on the way. After the walk we gave the elephant a shower and scrub down. A wonderful experience where the elephants were treated with the up most care and attention.
Following this we drove to an area of the park a little further out from the main sanctuary with some of the long term volunteers. Here we learnt about gibbon ‘island’ and the gibbon rehabilitation programme, visited the expansive space for rescued elephants and went to see the sanctuaries sun and Asiatic black bears.
The day ends at around 3.30 when WFFT transport will take you back to your pre arranged drop off points.
Our day at the WFFT was one of our best experiences whilst travelling through Thailand and I thoroughly recommend a visit particularly if you love and care about animals.