Kamis, 30 September 2010

ape shall not kill ape

as gamelan music rings out above our rooftops, and the soft glow of lights dots

the rice fields, it’s easy to get lost in bali’s magic and forget about the plight of

the environment in neighbouring islands
text melanie j martin image photolibrary

nfortunately for some travellers, Bali is not so magical. When infant orangutans are captured from the forests of Sumatra and Borneo, Bali often marks the first stop on their journey to a private home or zoo. Once there, they will never have the chance to swing from a tree. They will be spending their life in a small cage or room rather than the vast jungle of their homeland. “While East Java is the epicentre of illegal trade in Indonesian animals, Bali remains a prominent site for such trade as well, with captured animals often passing through Ngurah Rai airport,” claims ProFauna Indonesia.

Orangutan – critically endangered in Sumatra and endangered in Borneo – are one of the most in-demand illegally traded species. Thus, their prices are among the highest. This is in spite of the fact that since 1931 – according to the wildlife trade-monitoring network, TRAFFIC – they have been protected in Indonesia. They add: “Despite a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a fine of Rp. 100 million, the chance of being caught or prosecuted is extremely low.”Such trade leads to the overwhelming problem of what to do with the recovered animals. Many are given to rehabilitation centres in Sumatra and Borneo when they reach adulthood and no longer want to obey humans. In Kalimantan, over 1,000 orangutans have been placed in rehabilitation centres and few stand a chance of returning to the wild.

Furthermore, according to World Wildlife Fund UK, for each infant captured, five to six adults are killed as they attempt to defend the baby. Infants must survive the fall from the trees as they cling to their dying mother, and then endure the lack of proper care, extremely cramped conditions, foreign diseases, and the emotional toll of the entire ordeal. The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) also claims “with only about 6,600 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, each captured or killed animal lowers the chances of the species’ survival.”



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