Thai govt regrets not to return orangutans to RI

Thai govt regrets not to return orangutans to RI

Orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus). (FOTO ANTARA/M Risyal Hidayat )

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government of Thailand, the biggest recipient of smuggled orangutans, regretted for not returning the protected animals to Indonesia.

The regret expressed by the Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) in a statement made available to ANTARA News, here, on Tuesday (March 15).

The Thai Government has decided to keep twelve orangutans, which have been smuggled from Indonesia, to the Samutphrakan Crocodile Farm in the outskirts of Bangkok. The Thai authorities confiscated the orangutans in 2008 and 2009 and captivated them in Kao Pratab Chang Animal Rescue.

The Indonesian government has refused to take back the big apes and bring them back to Indonesia as it cost 80,000 US dollars for their dispatch to Indonesia where the orangutans originally came from - as that specified by CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Wild Flora and Fauna).

"Indonesia once managed to bring back 48 out of 115 smuggled orangutans from Thailand on November 17, 2006. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the Indonesian Air Force to bring them back to Indonesia on a C-130 cargo airplane," said Daniek Hendarto, COP Orangutan Campaigner.

He emphasized that a similar action will be made to repatriate the twelve orangutans. "After all, bringing back the twelve orangutans to Indonesia is a matter of good will, not money."

The Indonesian government will not have to worry about funds for the orangutans` care and rehabilitation, which will come eventually as the funds will always become from BOS Foundation and Taman Safari.

The two big conservation institutions` participation for the orangutans` care and rehabilitation will serve with great benefits of good publications and waves of global support for them.

Hendarto reminded that during the launch of National Plans of Action and Strategy for Orangutans on December 7, 2007, President Yudhoyono said that orangutans are Indonesia`s National Conservation Icons.

A successful repatriation of the twelve orangutans from Thailand eventually will serve as a message for the whole world, that the Government of Indonesia protects orangutans seriously - instead of protecting the great apes to create a "green" image.