The Orangutan Project, an organisation focused on securing the survival of orangutans and other critically endangered species, has seen an increase in orangutan confiscations over the past two months with their rescue alliances assisting authorities to rescue eight orangutans.
What is Happening?
- The founder of the Orangutan Project, Leif Cocks, says that the increase in illegally held orangutans is simply the visible tip of a far more sinister iceberg, saying, “The mass deforestation of Borneo and Sumatra has left remaining populations of Critically Endangered orangutans deeply vulnerable to poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Displaced orangutans will often enter plantations in search of food and are then killed as agricultural pests. If they’re female, their infants are sold as pets through the lucrative illegal wildlife trade.”
- The pandemic has worsened the situation; as COVID-19 has left millions of Indonesians in poverty, rural people may resort to poaching and forest crimes to survive, while organised crime networks are thriving.
- The Orangutan Project recently joined forces with their two Indonesian partners, the Orangutan Information Center and the Center for Orangutan Protection, to form the Sumatran Rescue Alliance (SRA) and the Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA). These alliances have significantly increased the scope and frequency of their patrols and rescue missions and provided additional security and resourcing.
- While owning and trading orangutans is illegal in Indonesia, it has until now been usual for culprits to get away with the crime. Cocks said the confiscations themselves help to destroy the trade in orangutans because buyers will become wary of purchasing orangutans who can be confiscated at any time.
- Every confiscated orangutan receives quarantine, care and jungle school for a second chance of life in the wild from these alliances.
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Cocks says, “We’re now at the point where every orangutan counts, not just because they are a highly sentient, deep-thinking species, but because we need every Critically Endangered orangutan to be living in secure populations adding to the genetic strength and diversity of their species.”
About The Orangutan Project
The Orangutan Project is a non-partisan organisation that collaborates with several orangutan conservation projects on the ground in Indonesia to support the conservation and rehabilitation of orangutans and the preservation of their forest habitat. Founded by world-renowned orangutan expert Leif Cocks, The Orangutan Project’s goal is to ensure the survival of the orangutan species in their natural habitat. For more information, visit https://www.theorangutanproject.org