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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Thailand sends 3 orangutans rescued from illicit wildlife commerce again to Indonesia

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BANGKOK — Three trafficked Sumatran orangutans have been despatched again from Thailand to Indonesia on Thursday as a part of a joint effort between the international locations to deal with the unlawful wildlife commerce.

Nobita and Shizuka, each 7 years {old}, and Brian, 5 years {old}, had been residing at a wildlife sanctuary within the western Thai province of Ratchaburi. After the repatriation, there are not any extra trafficked orangutans at the moment beneath the care of Thai authorities, officers stated.

Rachmat Budiman, Indonesia’s Ambassador to Thailand, thanked the authorities in each international locations for the repatriation and stated he has “blended emotions” about it: blissful the orangutans might be again of their pure habitat however unhappy for the Thai caretakers who had bonded with the animals over a number of years.

The orangutans have been transported from the sanctuary to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Worldwide Airport earlier than being placed on a aircraft to Jakarta. Thai officers stated Indonesia covers the associated fee for transportation and the animals’ well being examinations.

They are going to be despatched to a rehabilitation middle in Sumatra earlier than being launched into their pure habitat, Rachtmat stated.

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The repatriation is “essential” as a result of it reveals the 2 international locations’ dedication to collaborate within the battle towards the illicit wildlife commerce, stated Athapol Charoenchansa, Thailand’s director-general of the Division of Nationwide Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. He stated he hoped it will elevate consciousness about wildlife conservation within the area.

Thai and Indonesian officers fed the animals bananas and dragon fruit whereas they have been being displayed inside their crates on the Bangkok airport earlier than they have been taken onto the aircraft.

In 2016, Nobita and Shizuka have been simply months {old} once they have been discovered throughout a sting operation in Bangkok by wildlife officers, who had agreed to purchase the pair on-line for $20,000. The then-baby orangutans, named after characters from the favored Japanese cartoon Doraemon, have been put right into a basket at the back of a taxi, and pictures of them hugging one another tightly within the basket went viral on the time.

Brian, one other male orangutan, was rescued from traffickers and despatched to Thai wildlife officers in 2019.

Thailand has despatched 74 orangutans again to Indonesia since 2006 in six batches, together with the three on Thursday. In 2020, two orangutans named Ung-Ing and Natalie have been repatriated.

The Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species — CITES — prohibits worldwide commerce in orangutans. They’re discovered solely within the forests of Sumatra and Borneo however their habitat is shrinking because of the development of agricultural land use, making them extra susceptible to poaching. The Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature, the worldwide authority on the standing of the pure world, lists orangutans as critically endangered.

Orangutans are sometimes bought into the pet commerce and for show in zoos and different sights.

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