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NGO cries foul over ill-treated orangutans

 | September 21, 2011

Eight orangutans have been found malnourished and depressed in the latest animal abuse case to hit Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: An international conservation group has ripped into the Malaysian government for turning a blind eye to the plight of eight abused orangutans.

In a press statement today, Nature Alert said that it had investigated the disappearance of the eight from the A’Famosa Resort in Malacca after the orangutan show was banned last April.

The animals were recently discovered at an undisclosed location hunched inside cages with little hair left, malnourished and suffering from severe depression.

“For the last 18 months we’ve been asking Perhilitan (the Department of Wildlife and National Parks) to investigate where and under what conditions these eight orangutans were being held, but they never did,” said Nature Alert’s chief executive, Sean Whyte.

“This is the worst example of cruelty to orangutans I have seen in Malaysia. It’s barbaric and must be stopped right now.”

Whyte also said that earlier this year Nature Alert had sent Perhilitan photos of the building in which the orangutans were thought to be held and requesting an immediate investigation. However, all those requests were ignored.

According to him, over 1,500 people have e-mailed Perhilitan to date expressing their concern for the health of these orangutans.

“I’m ashamed my government openly permits this abuse of such a magnificent species,” said Nature Alert’s senior investigator, known only as Shiva.

“The sight of these orangutans filled me with horror and disbelief. Perhilitan must now act quickly to confiscate the orangutans.”

Nature Alert has demanded that the orangutans be immediately confiscated and sent to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary in Sabah for medical treatment.

Minister should resign

It has also called for the immediate resignation of Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Douglas Embas, for ignoring all pleas to help the organutans.

“His failure to do so has caused undue suffering on the orangutans and brought shame to Malaysia again,” said Nature Alert.

The NGO also pointed out that there is no serious attempt by A’Famosa to educate the public, nor is there any conservation programme conducted there.

“It is, first and foremost, a golf resort with an entertainment park attached and as such we consider it unsuitable for the confinement of wild animals,” it stated.

This is not the first time that A’Famosa has come under fire. In 2005, orangutans found to be illegally in their possession were confiscated but no one was prosecuted.

In 2010, a video on YouTube alleged that a tiger had been sedated before being photographed with tourists. The resort denied this but Perhilitan subsequently banned future use of the tiger in this way.

Attempts by FMT to contact both A’Famosa and Perhilitan were unsuccessful.


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