Tue, 06 Aug 2002

Orangutans returned to habitat

DENAPASAR, Bali: A pair of orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), Monic and Robin, were flown back on Sunday to the Wanariset Semboja rehabilitation center in East Kalimantan, which will release them into their native habitat in the island's jungle.

The female orangutan, Monic, was seized by the Bali police and the Nature Conservation Agency at a private villa, Puri Ayu, in the Sanur area on July 31.

Along with Monic, the police also confiscated a number of other protected animals, including two cockatoos (Cacatua galerita), a rare red parrot (Lorius lory) and two other birds known locally as Beo Nias (Gracula religiosa).

The male orangutan, Robin, had earlier been seized at a private house.

Animals like orangutans and other species in zoological parks, rehabilitation centers or other places are protected under the law and automatically belong to the state. Trade in these animals is banned.

Wayan Wiradjana, coordinator of the Bali branch of Animal Conservation for Life (KSBK), said that over the last few years Bali had become a strategic transit center for the illegal trade in a myriad of endangered and protected animals. --JP