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Orangutans go home to Indonesia

Vietnam orangutan Repatriation

Within two weeks, all documents had been signed and the movement approved.  On the day of transportation, the orangutans were given a good morning meal and then quickly moved into the moving cage together before being transported to the government vet station for a final signing of documents.

From there, they were moved to the airport for the second last leg of their journey.  By the time they reached Jakarta, it was late and they were exhausted from the journey.  The government decided they would initially be taken to a Safari park where licensed quarantine premises awaited them.

They will stay there for four weeks before they undertake the final leg of their journey to Borneo, where we hope they will grow into strong and confident orangutans, eventually able to return to the wild.

July 2006 Vietnam

After weeks of preparation and discussions with government departments and NGO’s, Edwin and Cheryl headed to Vietnam to assist with the confiscation of two young orangutans on the 11th July, 2006, from the Thanh Canh Hotel outside of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The two orangutans, aged approximately 2 and 3 years old, had been bought illegally on the black market and were kept at the hotel as an attraction for guests and tourists. The hotel operates a small ‘zoo’ containing wild cats, birds and other monkeys, as well as somewhere between 70-100 bears held for the extraction of bile for the traditional Chinese medicine market.

The whole operation ran far more smoothly than expected. After a short discussion between the Vietnamese Forestry Protection Department (FPD), the team from Wildlife At Risk (WAR), a Vietnam based NGO, and ourselves removed the animals from the premises and transported them to a nearby holding facility for monitoring until they could be repatriated back to Indonesia. Once there, a physical examination and health check was undertaken and they were settled into a temporary holding cage.

Over the following two weeks, Cheryl stayed with the Orangutans to undertake their daily care and monitor the animals for any signs of illness. At the same time, Edwin and WAR were busy every day pushing for the signing of export, import and CITES permits to allow us to legally transport the animals back to Indonesia where they would be handed over to Indonesian forestry department authorities.

Within two weeks, all documents had been signed and the movement approved. On the day of transportation, the orangutans were given a good morning meal and then quickly moved into the moving cage together before being transported to the government vet station for a final signing of documents. From there, they were moved to the airport for the second last leg of their journey. By the time they reached Jakarta, it was late and they were exhausted from the journey.

The government decided they would initially be taken to a Safari park where licensed quarantine premises awaited them. They will stay there for four weeks before they undertake the final leg of their journey to Borneo, where we hope they will grow into strong and confident orangutans, eventually able to return to the wild.

We were all surprised at how quickly this repatriation took place given the difficulties that have been faced in Thailand, and wish to thank everyone involved in Vietnam and Indonesia for their assistance in moving the process along quickly.
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Thanks again Wildlife-At-Risk (Vietnam) and F.P.D. Vietnam for a great cooperation and successful mission!

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