UK charity helps rescue two orangutans in Borneo from illegal sale

A UK charity has helped rescue two baby orangutans who were found by police in West Borneo caged and ready to be sold through social media to illegal buyers.

The two apes, a one-year-old male and an eight-month-old female, who were discovered in tiny cages are now in the care of International Animal Rescue (IAR) at its centre in Ketapang, Borneo.

A man was arrested for the trafficking of wildlife both directly and by using online social media sites.

A spokeswoman for the charity based in Uckfield, East Sussex, said: “The general condition of the two orangutans is fair, although both are dehydrated and suffering from severe distress. One of them is rocking back and forth – this is an abnormal behaviour presented by animals in extremely stressful conditions.”

David Muhammad, head of the law enforcement agency of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the orangutans were captured by a hunter in Sintang, Indonesia, and collected by the arrested man who was selling them for about IDR 3m (about £175).

He said: “Our team is continuing its investigation as we believe the man now under arrest belongs to an international trafficking syndicate.”

Tantyo Bangun, chairman of IAR Indonesia, said it was likely that the orangutans would be sold via social media such as Facebook or Instagram. He said: “If we want to stop the trade in wildlife we must target cybercrime. We must work together with all online social networks which are currently failing to tackle this illegal activity.”
Karmele Llano Sanchez, programme director of IAR Indonesia, said: “Having such a large number of orangutans undergoing rehabilitation, with more having to be rescued, makes it harder and harder to find safe places where we can release them.

“If we do not address the root cause of the problem, we will never halt the decline of orangutans in the wild.”

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