Conservationists Rally for Smuggled Orangutans

From: Borneo orangutan Survival Foundation
Published: Fri Jul 29 2005

A demonstration is to take place at the Thai Embassy in London on Monday 1 August to draw attention to the plight of dozens of smuggled orangutans who remain in a private zoo in Bangkok, where the animals have been made to perform in Kick-Boxing shows.

Safari World, Bangkok was raided in November 2003 by Thai Forestry Police and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants (DNP) and was found guilty on suspicion of holding illegally obtained wildlife.

During this raid, 115 orangutans were found at Safari World Park: only 46 were registered with the authorities: 115 orangutans in total including 7 adult males, 7 adult females and 101 babies between 1 and 4 years old. Subsequent DNA tests showed that at least 67 of the surviving orangutans could not have been captive born.

Both the Indonesian Director-General of the Indonesian Forest Protection and the Minister of Forestry has requested the return of those illegal-suspected Orangutans to Indonesia.

In Indonesia, specialized rehabilitation centers for orangutans operated by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation are ready to take them in and provide them the best care and a potential return to the wild where they originally were taken from.

Thailand signed CITES in 1983 and as a signatory have very specific rules and regulations as to the "disposal" of illegal wildlife. By refusing to return the orangutans to Indonesia, Thailand breaks the international agreement.

Meanwhile an online petition for the return of the orangutans has gathered over 6000 supporters, and this petition is to be presented in full to the Thai ambassador next week.

Other demonstrations have recently been held by supporters of the campaign in the Hague, Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

Organisations supporting the campaign include the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, International Primate Protection League, the Ape Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Great Ape Survival Project, ProFauna, and Wildlife Friends of Thailand.

This demonstration comes at a time when more countries worldwide are focusing on combating the illegal trade of wildlife, an industry with revenues second only to the drugs and arms trades. Last week CITES officials confiscated a smuggled baby orangutan in Riyadh and are arranging with the Indonesian authorities for its return. Malaysian authorities are calling for DNA testing of apparently smuggled orangutans found at A’famosa Bird Park in Kuala Lumpur, and the owner of the park has been jailed in Jakarta. Officials in Cambodia have also begun to address the issue of 36 orangutans allegedly smuggled in from Thailand and discovered at Koh Kong Safari World Park, fining the owner $57,000 and ordering DNA testing of the orangutans.

More information can be found at and

Company: Borneo orangutan Survival Foundation
Contact Name: Michelle Desilets
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 01296640542

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