Smuggled orangutans flown back home to Indonesia

Nine trafficked orangutans were flown back home to Indonesia after the primates were rescued from the illicit wildlife trade in Malaysia.

Poachers in Southeast Asia frequently capture the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans to sell as pets, and fewer than 15,000 of the apes are estimated to remain in the wild.

The group were flown to North Sumatra province on Friday, a day after arriving in Indonesia from a wildlife rescue center in Malaysia that was caring for the creatures.

Provincial conservation officials said the apes had been tested and cleared for COVID-19 infections. They will now be taken to a sanctuary to undergo observation for a few months before they are returned to the forest.

Their arrival in Indonesia came the same day as another pair of orangutans were flown back to the country from a wildlife breeding center in Thailand.

Sumatran orangutans’ habitat has drastically shrunk from logging, palm oil plantations and mining.

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