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17 Dec 05
Orang-utans head home
Channel NewsAsia 18 Dec 05
Malaysia sends smuggled orang-utans home to Indonesia
KUALA LUMPUR : Six Sumatran orang-utans that were smuggled into Malaysia and displayed at a theme park for almost four years have been flown home.
The primates were flown to Jakarta Saturday aboard a Malaysia Airlines flight dubbed the "Orang-utan special", and transferred to a Garuda flight for their final destination in a Medan wildlife sanctuary, the New Straits Times said.
The decision to return the orang-utans Sunday, aged between three and four years old, was made after the wildlife department conducted a DNA finger-printing exercise following a tip-off.
The Sumatran orang-utan is listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which means they are critically endangered status and cannot be traded. An estimated 7,500 Sumatran orang-utans remain in the wild. - AFP /ct
New Straits Times 17 Dec 05
Orang-utans head home
Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH711 from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Jakarta today was dubbed the "Orang-utan Special".
Six Sumatran orang-utans that were smuggled into the country and used as show animals by a theme park for almost four years were flown back to Medan. The orang-utans left KLIA at 9am for a 2½-hour journey to Jakarta where they will be transferred to a Garuda flight to Medan. Their final destination is the Medan wildlife conservation sanctuary.
This repatriation of the endangered wildlife came about a month after the Asean Wildlife Enforcement Network was adopted by member countries in Bangkok.
The orang-utans did not have to pay their fare home. The tab was picked up by MASkargo. Malaysia Airlines Corporate Communication (cargo control) manager Ebi Azly Abdullah said the orang- utans arrived in six individual cages from Malacca Zoo about 4.30pm yesterday and were housed at the MASkargo animal zoo for the night.
The orang-utans, aged three to four years, were in good shape.
"MASkargo agreed to fly the orang-utans free of charge when a request was made by a Medan-based non-governmental organisation recently," he said. "We are committed to wildlife conservation and preservation programmes." Ebi Azly added that MASkargo would work closely with the authorities and NGOs.
Sumatran Orang-Utan Conservation Programme director Dr Ian Singleton, who had been in Malaysia since Tuesday to oversee the repatriation, was full of praises for the Malaysian authorities for taking good care of the orang-utans. Singleton returned to Medan on board the same flight.
The decision to return the great apes to Indonesia was made following a DNA finger-printing exercise by the Wildlife Department in May following a tip-off.
The Sumatran orang-utan is listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which means they cannot be traded due to their critically endangered status. There are only an estimated 7,500 of the animals in the wild.
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