Friday, 2 January 2009

Indonesia's orangutans

The Jakarta Post, 2nd January

Indonesia's orangutans

The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) agrees with Van Mengden's comments in regard to Ragunan Zoo and its Schmutzer Center gorillas (The Jakarta Post, Dec. 30, p. 7).This center cost a fortune to build and should best be used for the benefit of Indonesian animals and the education of Indonesia's children to cherish Indonesia's wildlife heritage.

Indonesia is blessed with extraordinary apes great and small -- the amazing orangutans and a variety of swinging gibbons and wonderful monkeys like the proboscis monkeys and the elegant leaf monkeys.

Why on earth does any Indonesian zoo want gorillas? Gorillas belong in Africa. No African zoo has orangutans. Four male gorillas are already at Ragunan, of whom one already died, and reportedly one or more female gorillas are likely to be sent from the UK to Ragunan soon. Apparently chimpanzees, also an African species, are present at Ragunan. Some rare Indonesian primates recently reached Howletts, species unknown to IPPL.

Van Mengden says any new exhibit space should be given to unreleasable orangutans -- most of whom are victims of human cruelty -- so they can live deserved better lives. Releasable orangutans should be rehabilitated and turned to safe areas of forest, assuming there are some left.

Save the red apes! Save their forest homes.

International Primate Protection League
Summerville, U.S.