COP NEWS Feb 2013

The Appeal has provided the group with two rescue vehicles, the Ape Crusader and the Ape Defender which enables them to travel the vast area of Kalimantan rescuing orphaned, injured and illegally held orangutans. Fian Khairunnisa, COP's senior co-ordinator, has sent us this report.

Three rescues in three months

Rocky and Imun were rescued on October 4th, 2012 from Sangatta, East Kalimantan. The APE Defenders and the Natural Resources Conservation Centre (BKSDA) joined forces for the rescue, but due to poor road conditions it still took 11 hours to get to where Rocky was being kept.

When they reached the captives home they spotted a tiny 1.5 year old male sitting on a wooden bird perch. Just below the perch thorns had been placed to prevent him from climbing down and running away. He was in very poor condition. His stomach was bloated as they had been feeding him ice and he had the symptoms of a cold with a runny nose and was sneezing. On the journey home the team had to wrap Rocky in a blanket and hold him close to warm him up as a common cold can easily
kill an orangutan.

The team then headed off to find Imun, a four-year-old female who was also waiting to be rescued. At 3am the next morning the team arrived at a rubber plantation in North Sangatta. With only the moon for light the team had to walk 500 metres along a grassy path just to reach the rubber plantation. Imun was found in a cage so small that she couldn't stand upright. The team did not see another person that night, only the eerie rubber trees and the moon. They quickly pulled apart Imun's cage and took her away from that place forever.

In December, with the help of the local BKSDA (Forestry), the Ape Crusader team found a baby orangutan on farm land without his mother, who needed to be cared for 24 hours a day as he was very young. They called the baby Joey and took him to the BOS centre where they had previously taken Rocky. It was hoped that Joey would eventually be introduced to Rocky and they could grow up together learning how to be wild orangutans. As Imun was older she was taken to a local conservation centre where she would be cared for.

Also a young orangutan called Kirno was brought to our attention when he was purchased from a timber worker in Java for the price of RM45 (£10).  For six years he was held in a 2m x 1.5m concrete cage with iron bars and only a tiny window. Never able to leave his cage, he had to eat, sleep and defecate in it. With no quality of life, Kirno was in a terrible condition with a serious head wound, probably self- inflicted. Kirno is now recovering slowly at the Taru Jurug Zoo in Solo and his case is being processed through the authorities. We hope it will reinforce the laws against keeping orangutans as pets as it brings into light the terrible and unnecessary suffering it causes.

Appeal Sponsoring COP

This February we sponsored COP's communications co-ordinator, Arfiana Khairunnisa (Fian), to visit the UK to study at the famous Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey. This course has enabled Arfiana to take back to Indonesia invaluable knowledge which will help COP in their mission to protect the endangered Orangutan.

It is also hoped that in the near future COP and OAUK will be able to open an emergency rescue centre so that confiscated orangutans would immediately have somewhere to be cared for. In this event Fian's new found knowledge will be invaluable.