The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sumatran Orangutan population is Devastated

Ilegal trade devastates Sumatran orang-utan population

Lack of law enforcement against illegal trade in Indonesia threatens the survival of orang-utans and gibbons on Sumatra, according to a new study by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network of IUCN and WWF.

Despite considerable investment in wildlife conservation, there has been an increase since the 1970s, in the numbers of the critically endangered orang-utans being captured, mainly for the pet trade. An estimated 2,000 orang-utans have been confiscated or turned in by private owners in Indonesia in the last three decades, but no more than a handful of people have ever been successfully prosecuted.

"Proper enforcement of laws protecting orang-utans is critical in Indonesia," said Heather Sohl, Wildlife Trade Officer for WWF-UK. "With their population numbers declining, action against this illegal trade has to be made a priority."

Records of orang-utans and gibbons put into rehabilitation centres serve as an indicator of how many of these animals were illegally held. Between 2002 and 2008, the newly opened Sibolangit rehabilitation centre in Sumatra took in 142 Sumatran orang-utans, while its predecessor, Bohorok rehabilitation centre accepted just 30 animals between 1995-2001 (when it closed), and 105 orang-utans between 1973-1979.

"When the first rehabilitation centres were established for orang-utans and later for gibbons it was hoped that with more apes being confiscated, levels of illegal trade would fall," said Vincent Nijman, the author of the report, based at Oxford Brookes University.

"But with hundreds of orang-utans and gibbons present in such centres, and dozens added every year, it is hard to view these numbers as anything other than an indictment against Indonesia's law enforcement efforts,* he said.

Orang-utans, which can weigh up to around 90 kilograms and reach 1.5 metres in length, end up in such centres after they become too old and too big to be held as pets. But owners of the reddish-brown coloured apes do not face any legal consequences.

Meanwhile numbers continue to decline in the wild, with the most recent
estimate of just 7,300 Sumatran orang-utans surviving.

"Confiscating these animals without prosecuting the owners is futile," said Chris R Shepherd, Acting Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

*There is no deterrent for those committing these crimes, if they go unpunished. Indonesia has adequate laws, but without serious penalties, this illegal trade will continue, and these species will continue to spiral towards extinction.*

The report also documents the 148 Sumatran gibbons and siamangs and 26
Sumatran orang-utans kept in Indonesian zoos.

The report recommends that the root causes of trade be examined and that laws be better implemented for the protection of orang-utans, gibbons and the island*s other wildlife.

Sumatra's wildlife is also threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation, logging, land conversion, encroachment, and forest fires. WWF is working to reduce the destruction of wildlife habitat in Sumatra by working with industry to ensure High Conservation Value Forests are not converted for agriculture, empowering local communities to manage natural resources in a sustainable way, and providing alternatives.

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is a joint programme of
IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and WWF, the
global conservation organisation.

* An assessment of trade in gibbons and orang-utans in Sumatra,
Indonesia is the first TRAFFIC report to examine the trade in apes in
Sumatra. It follows earlier reports published in 2005 into such trade in
Kalimantan: Hanging in the balance: An assessment of trade in
orang-utans and gibbons on Kalimantan, Indonesia and in Java and Bali:
In full swing: An assessment of trade in orang-utans and gibbons on Java
and Bali, Indonesia.

* Under national legislation, penalties for illegally possessing
orang-utans include a fine of up to IDR 100,000,000 (USD 9,000) and
imprisonment for up to five years.

* In July 2007, the Supreme Court of Indonesia hosted the
country*s first national *Judiciary Workshop on Wildlife Crime
and Prosecution* as part of a government commitment to step up its
fight against organized poaching and trafficking of wild animals and

If everyone used natural resources and generated carbon emissions at
the rate we do in the UK we would need three planets to support us. The
way we live is leading to environmental threats such as climate change,
species extinction, deforestation, water shortages and the collapse of
fisheries. WWF's One Planet Future Campaign is working to help people
live a good quality of life within the earth*s capacity. For more
information visit "


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