IAR launches exciting new project in Indonesia to combat primate trade
International Animal Rescue formally announces the expansion of its activity into Indonesia to combat the trade in primates. The announcement is made on the day the charity’s Chief Executive receives an OBE from the Queen for his services to animal welfare.
In the past four years International Animal Rescue has cut free 350 sloth bears that were made to ’dance’ for tourists. IAR funds sanctuaries for the rescued bears in the north and south of India which are managed by Delhi-based charity Wildlife SOS. The project has been so successful that IAR anticipates a total end to the practice of ’dancing’ bears within the next five years. The charity, which has concentrated most of its efforts in India since it was first registered in 1989, has now grown sufficiently to take on a new challenge and rescue more animals from cruelty.
IAR CEO Alan Knight made two visits to Indonesia recently to discuss with local group ProAnimalia the desperate plight of the wild animals and birds that are caught and sold in pet markets. ProAnimalia is led by Spanish vet Karmele Llano Sanchez and Dutch woman Femke den Haas who specialise in the rescue and rehabilitation of primates and raptors. After detailed discussion it was agreed that ProAnimalia would join forces with IAR and that together they would form International Animal Rescue Indonesia. IAR Indonesia will be led in the field by the former ProAnimalia team By combining their efforts with International Animal Rescue they have been able to secure an area of land in west Java for a new centre for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of macaque monkeys, slow lorises and Brahminy kites. The charity’s Christmas appeal to supporters highlights the tragic plight of these animals and birds that are caught from the wild and, if they don’t die from the trauma, spend a lifetime chained up or languishing in tiny cages.
Alan Knight says: "I’m delighted that the ProAnimalia team has agreed to join us. Most people are aware of the horrific effects of deforestation on wildlife in Indonesia - and on orangutans in particular - but many birds and animals also endure years of immense suffering as pets. By setting up International Animal Rescue in Indonesia we will be rescuing captive primates and birds and releasing them back into the wild where they belong."
One primate the charity will be helping is the slow loris, a small nocturnal primate with huge eyes and a docile nature which is particularly sought after as a pet. Slow lorises also have a venomous bite and so their captors cut their teeth down to the gums with wire cutters. This mutilation often causes horrific infections leading to a slow and painful death. Nearly half of all slow lorises that are captured don’t survive long enough to become pets because they die from the trauma of being snatched from the wild.
With support from the Indonesian government IAR is using three uninhabited Indonesian islands to release groups of macaque monkeys after rehabilitation. Macaques are highly gregarious and, once rescued from their solitary lives as pets, require careful socialisation before release. It is on these islands too that the Brahminy kites are set free once they have been taught to fly and fish and fend for themselves.
International Animal Rescue is also supporting the work of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation which runs a sanctuary for more than 600 orangutans orphaned during the destruction of their habitat.