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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Questions About the Animals

If your query is not answered here please contact [email protected]

Are slow lorises, macaques and orangutans protected in Indonesia?


There are two types of trade that threaten primates in Indonesia, the international trade and the domestic trade. The international trade in flora and fauna is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which lists species in to three separate appendices based on population sizes and level of threats, and specifies the level of trade that is therefore considered suitable. Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, and Javan, Sumatran and Bornean slow lorises are listed on Appendix 1 of CITES, meaning there is a real risk of the species becoming extinct. The commercial international trade in wild caught individuals of these species is therefore illegal.

Pigtailed and long-tailed macaques are listed on Appendix II, which is reserved for species not at immediate threat of extinction but which could become extinct if their trade is not strongly regulated. International trade in these species is allowed but strongly regulated.

Indonesia became a party of CITES in 1979, and agrees to adhere to these classifications and regulations. 

While CITES regulates the international trade in wildlife, the trade within Indonesia is regulated by domestic law, principally Article 21 of Act 5. 1990, the conservation of living resources and their ecosystems. Both orangutans and slow lorises are listed in this Act, which makes it illegal to capture, injure or own one (live or dead) and the punishment is a maximum fine of 100 million Indonesian rupiah (approximately US$7000) and a maximum of five years in prison. Macaques are not mentioned in the Act, and are not afforded any legal protection in Indonesia. 

Why are the animals found in markets?


Despite Indonesia’s signatory to the CITES convention and the domestic law protecting orangutans and slow lorises, Indonesia has a burgeoning wildlife trade, and legally protected animals are sold openly in the numerous bird markets throughout the country. Though the trade in orangutans is substantially more clandestine than the trade in slow lorises or other lower profile species, lack of law enforcement initiative, lack of awareness of the law and of the conservation status of the animals among law enforcers and civil society, poverty and strong consumer demand mean animals are traded openly and there is little deterrent.

What should I do if I see a protected species in a market or a private home?


DO NOT BUY THE ANIMAL! Seeing an animal in a market can be heart breaking and there is an obvious desire to do something to help. The most important thing, however, is not to purchase the animal. Although this might alleviate the suffering of the individual animal, it merely creates more demand for that particular species, creates a space in the market and perpetuates the trade.

IAR tries to respond to all instances of captive slow lorises, macaques and orangutans, but requires as much information as possible to follow up. If you are able to provide us with a photo of the animal, the location (if possible using GPS coordinates now easily accessible on most Smartphones) and give us a summary of the condition and situation it is, we will endeavour to send a member of staff to examine the situation. If appropriate, we will then forward the information on to the relevant law enforcement agency.

Please note, IAR only works with primates in Indonesia, and can only respond to queries about animals within Indonesia. If you have a query about a similar animal in another country, it would be most appropriate to contact an NGO working in that area.

Why can’t IAR confiscate the animals?


IAR does not have the authority to confiscate animals, and all such law enforcement activities must be carried out by the relevant authority in Indonesia. IAR supports confiscation activities as much as it can, but it remains a complicated process. The legal status of the animal must be determined, and confiscations can only take place if there is a suitable place for the animals to be taken. IAR has worked hard to strengthen capacity of law enforcement agencies and develop sufficient enclosures at our centres to house confiscated animals, and the increased number of confiscations over the last few years is a testament to our hard work. However, it must always be remembered that credit lies with the Indonesian government, and they are the only authority with the power to carry out confiscations.