IAR is disgusted and saddened by Russian trade in baby orangutans
IAR Chief Executive Alan Knight has expressed disgust and sadness at the Russian trade in baby orangutans exposed by the Daily Mail Online today.
He observes that the existence of such a vile trade comes as no surprise to him, adding that “where there is money to be made from the abuse and exploitation of animals, there will always be people ready and willing to do it.”
The MailOnline investigation has found that baby orangutans are being bred in Russia as expensive exotic pets and are being advertised for sale on the internet. Others are being imported in apparent defiance of international rules.
Says Knight: “This is wrong on so many levels that I barely know where to begin. But primates simply should not be kept as pets, full stop. They need freedom to express natural behaviours and act like the wild animals they are. No domestic environment can provide that.
“In the wild young orangutans stay with their mothers until they are seven years old and learn their skills and behaviour from them. But what has become of the mothers of these babies? It’s incredibly cruel to use them as breeding machines and then take their babies from them. The mothers and babies must be distraught when they’re separated. I wonder too how many babies don’t survive once they’re deprived of the protection and care of their mothers and exposed to the many germs and diseases carried by the human beings who replace them.
“The Russian dealer also makes no mention of the fact that cute baby orangutans grow into powerful and potentially dangerous animals. What will be the fate of these babies once they are no longer small and cuddly? This throwaway attitude to wildlife is utterly despicable.
“Our rehabilitation centre in West Borneo is coping with an increasing number of orangutans that have been rescued from the illegal pet trade. Some have suffered permanent physical damage from their years in captivity and can never be returned to the wild.
“For greedy people in Russia to breed and sell young orangutans without a care for the long term consequences is just sickening. Laws need to be put in place to stop them and those laws then need to be rigorously enforced if they are to be effective. But until that happens, these young primates will continue to be used and abused as playthings for the idle rich.”
Images from MailOnline