The Orangutan Project & Rescue Alliances Aim To Provide A Lifeline For Critically Endangered Orangutans That Have Been Trafficked

The Orangutan Project, an organization that focuses on securing the survival of orangutans and other Critically Endangered species in Indonesia, has seen an alarming increase in orangutan confiscations over the past two months. Together with their rescue alliances, they have assisted authorities in saving eight Critically Endangered orangutans.

Leif Cocks, the Founder of The Orangutan Project, said that the alarming increase in illegally held orangutans is simply the visible tip of a far more sinister iceberg.

“The mass deforestation of Borneo and Sumatra has left remaining populations of Critically Endangered orangutans deeply vulnerable to poaching and the illegal wildlife trade,” said Cocks in a statement. “Displaced orangutans will often enter plantations in search of food and are then killed as agricultural pests. If they’re female, their infants are sold on as pets through the illegal wildlife trade.”

Cocks confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic has simply made a bad situation worse, plunging millions of Indonesians back into poverty. Rural people may then resort to poaching and forest crimes to survive, while organized crime networks are thriving.

However, there is some good news to be found in the recent spate of rescues. The Orangutan Project recently joined forces with their two Indonesian partners, the Orangutan Information Center and the Center for Orangutan Protection, to form the Sumatran Rescue Alliance (SRA) and the Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA). 

These alliances have significantly increased the scope and frequency of their patrols and rescue missions and provided additional security and resourcing.

While owning and trading orangutans is illegal in Indonesia, until now, it has been common for criminals to get away with the crime. Cocks said the confiscations themselves help to destroy the trade in orangutans because buyers will become wary of purchasing orangutans who can be confiscated at any time.

Both alliances also run rehabilitation centers, so every confiscated orangutan receives quarantine, care, and jungle school for a second chance at life in the wild.

“We’re now at the point where every orangutan counts, not just because they are a highly sentient, deep-thinking species, but because we need every Critically Endangered orangutan to be living in secure populations adding to the genetic strength and diversity of their species,” said Cocks.

The Orangutan Project is urgently raising funds to resource their rescue alliances for the next 12 months. Tax deductible donations received before June 30th will be used to increase orangutan protection patrols, infiltrate poaching networks, conduct urgent confiscations, and support orangutan rehabilitation and release.

Please help The Orangutan Project continue to rescue and rehabilitate critically endangered orangutans by donating HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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