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Dumbstruck by Perhilitan’s insentivity

November 22, 2011

FMT LETTER: From Mohd Aidil Fikri Jasman, via e-mail

A few weeks ago, I went to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort (BM) with my family to visit Orangutan Island (OUI) in Bukit Merah. I was very excited at first but left OUI feeling disgusted and appalled by what I saw and heard.

I was stunned when I heard all orangutans not born on OUI are actually on loan from other sanctuaries. I just don’t understand, these sanctuaries are already involved with helping these orangutans to get them back into the wild.

Why would Perhilitan allow BM to bring orangutans from sanctuaries and give them license to call themselves, “orangutan conservationists”? I also heard orangutans from Melaka Zoo were once brought here for breeding. Unbelievable.

As we were taken around OUI by a staff, we were shown babies behind a glassed clinic. I was told these babies are kept there, separated from their mothers for various health reasons. This is not true at al. OUI remove babies to put on show to the public, a terrible thing to do to their mothers.

And then there is the “Stage 2: The Enrichment Development Unit”. One of these orangutans’ mothers is undergoing training in an island called ‘BJ Island’, next to OUI. What training? Do they have to separate mother and child? Surely OUI know that separating baby orangutans is highly stressful for their mothers.

At night these baby orangutans in ‘Stage 2’ are kept in a cage, which means they are locked up in this barren cage for up to 16 hours everyday. According to the newly enacted Wildlife Act 2010, OUI are guilty of causing suffering to mother and baby orangutans and should be persecuted and the situation corrected.

In addition, an orangutan named ‘Baboon’, who has given birth to five orangutans here according to a staff, is separated from four of her children. Imagine, four! I wonder if the babies separated from their mothers here are ever re-united but I do not have high hopes.

Also, the OUI Foundation website claims “(OUI)…designed to resemble the orangutan’s natural rainforest habitat as much as possible”. But orangutans don’t live behind a glassed clinic in their “natural rainforest habitat” and their mothers don’t put their babies in tanks for ‘training’.

And there is an adult orangutan male called ‘BJ’, locked up in a small cage all the time. I heard that he is too aggressive for keepers, and that he can easily damage the electrified wires. So, they incarcerate BJ 24/7. Will Perhilitan tell BM to release poor BJ into the wild immediately and end this poor orangutans suffering? Again, BM are in breach of the Wildlife Act 2010.

OUI claim they are involved in orangutan research. Can Perhilitan please tell me how has OUI’s research helped the ever dwindling orangutan population in Malaysian Borneo? And have OUI released any orangutans back into the wild?

Also, I found out OUI once forced orangutans to be photographed with visitors. This is totally shocking. I wonder what other dark secrets are there on OUI.

Currently, most orangutan mothers and babies are suffering at OUI from separation. There is an urgent need for Perhilitan to take action on this and make sure this cruel act does not happen again in the future in OUI, ever.

I’m completely dumbstruck as to how Perhilitan have allowed OUI to exploit orangutans and not take action.

Can someone from Perhilitan reply to me about my thoughts on OUI please? I believe as a Malaysian citizen I deserve a reply from our government agency.


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