Dr. Karmele Llano Sanchez from International Animal Rescue checks Monte, a 13-year-old pet orangutan, after members of the West Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Board (BKSDA) seized him from a residence in Bengkayan in West Kalimantan province.
Photograph by: STRINGER/INDONESIA
Indonesia has reserved 86,450 hectares (214,000 acres) of forest in Muara Wahau, East Kalimantan province, for the rehabilitation of 1,200 captive big apes over the next four years.
But the independent Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) warned that the endangered mammals were being sent to their deaths unless the government also managed to stop illegal logging and poaching, which is rampant in the region.
"Without law enforcement and security guarantees from the government, releasing them to the forest is like sending them to a killing field," COP chief Hardi Baktiantoro told reporters.
He said local communities were responsible for most of the destruction of flora and fauna in Muara Wahau.
In the last three months of 2010, the COP rescued four orangutans which locals had caught and were offering for sale for up to 2.5 million rupiah ($280) each.
"The forestry ministry should deploy the forestry police to protect orangutans in the wild from poaching and save their habitat from illegal logging," Baktiantoro said.
Experts say there are about 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 80 percent of them in Indonesia and the rest in Malaysia.
They are faced with extinction due to poaching and the rapid destruction of their habitat.
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