Baby orangutan rescued from illegal pet trade in Sumatra

28 May 2013

Baby orangutan rescued from illegal pet trade in Sumatra
Alam is now in safe hands Credit Orangutan Information Centre

A specialist team from our partner organisation, the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC), rescued a baby orangutan that had been poached for the illegal pet trade on 24th May 2013.

Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered and without urgent action could be the first Great Ape species to become extinct, so protecting every individual is crucial. 

The orangutan, around one and a half years old, has been named Alam, meaning ‘nature', by the rescue team. He was surrendered by an oil palm plantation worker in North Sumatra, but the orangutan had originally come from Aceh province and sold on by a poacher.

Alam has now been taken to the orangutan care centre run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), where he will enter their rehabilitation programme, hopefully one day to return to the wild.

Panut Hadisiswoyo, Founder and Director of the OIC, said "It is certain that Alam's mother would have been killed in order for the poacher to capture him for the pet trade. It is likely that he has come from an area of forest that is being cleared for development, perhaps for oil palm plantations or roads. The forests are under huge pressure here in Sumatra, and orangutans are losing their habitat at an alarming rate, making it easier for poachers to get hold of protected and endangered wildlife."

David Dellatore, Scientific Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) said "It's vital to have a specialist team in the field, building relationships with communities living around the last standing forests, so that we can receive reports of orangutans in need of help and respond quickly. Thanks to the OIC's team, Alam is now in safe hands and will one day, we hope, be able to return to the wild."

Panut said: "There are plans to wipe 1.2 million hectares of protected forest off the map in Aceh province for mining, logging, oil palm plantations and roads - this would be an absolute catastrophe for orangutans, tigers, elephants, and rhinos, all already critically endangered, and thousands of local people would also be put at extreme risk of floods and landslides. There is a real conservation emergency happening right now in Sumatra."

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