Repatriation of illegal orangutans to go ahead under controversial circumstances
Bangkok, 20 November 2006 – It is only one more day to go before the orangutans confiscated from a zoo in Bangkok are finally to be send back home. After waiting over a thousand days or three years since the actual confiscation the complete operation is still a controversial one.
The Department of National Parks, wildlife and Plants (DNP) agreed to return 48 out of 53 confiscated orangutans. It was said that 5 were “donated” to the Chiangmai Night safari, a zoo similar to the place they were initially rescued from. One of the chief-advisers of the night safari park is the owner of the Bangkok based zoo that was ultimately never charged with the illegal possession of the 53 apes. Heavy protests from Indonesian based NGO’s have followed upon this decision. Thai Forestry Police officers are surprised with this decision and have asked why not all are returned.
one of the 48 orangutans that waited 3 years before it might go home
A team of veterinarians send by the Indonesian government to accommodate the repatriation of the apes arrived on Saturday in Thailand but was not able to check on the health of the apes, therefore creating a potential dangerous situation, as there is no proof the animals are healthy enough to travel the exhausting 24 hour journey.
The team is also not allowed to handle the apes moving them in to the specially designed moving cages provided by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) and the
Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand (WFFT). Besides this the cages have been modified by the DNP staff, removing stickers and markings on all enclosures as they feel no NGO’s or other government agencies should get any credit for the repatriation. Stickers of the
Indonesians Forestry Department, BOSF, WFFT as well as the Thai Forestry Police who were instrumental in the legal case were removed. The on-purpose build metal and aluminum moving cages which have a value of over 6000,000 baht, are property of the BOSF and have been provided free of charge to accommodate the repatriation as the DNP has said they could not supply such moving enclosures.
The Indonesian government in cooperation with the BOSF will late on Tuesday night load the apes into a specially chartered Military aircraft owned by the Indonesian Navy. The plane will take off at 03:30 hours sending back the apes to Borneo with a short stop-over in Jakarta where the Indonesian First Lady will welcome the apes back home.
Cages before the stickers were removed at Kao PrathapChang
schedule for repatriation
21-11 09:00 Arrival Indonesian officials at Kao Prathapchang
-apes get fed properly, check behavior.
-prepare medication, sedatives.
14:00 Start with immobilization of the larger apes.
15:00 Start moving smaller apes in to moving enclosures.
Number the cages; mark the Hepatitis-B cages.
16:00 Start loading trucks for road transport.
17:00 Exit Kao Prathapchang.
17:00-20:00 Road trip KPC to Military airbase with Police convoy
20:00 Arrival Military airbase, unload cages by our team
20:30-21:00 Handout of small snacks to apes, check water provisions, cleaning
21:00-02:30 Silence at cage area, rest for the apes.
22-11 02:30 Start preparations for loading, cage checks, water provisions.
-load the cages
03:30 Take off.
12:00 Arrival Jakarta airport (Halim)
Although the DNP told us all animals are in quarantine dozens of reporters could play with, touch and feed the apes before repatriation (photo taken on 20-11-06)
LATEST NEWS: 5 orangutans from Night safari will be returned!
Not to go with the 48 orangutans but on a later date. Update soon.