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  Yahoo News 14 Sep 06
Thai monkey business over as orangutans head home

Antara 8 Sep 06
BOS Foundation ready to pick up orangutans from Thailand

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) is making preparations to pick up tens of orangutan from Thailand, the manager of the Orangutan Reintroduction and Research of BOS, Paramitha Ananda, said on Tuesday.

"We have yet to receive confirmation when the repatriations will take place. The last information said that they will be returned to Indonesia in the third week of September," she said in an interview.

On the number of orangutan to be returned, she said it might reach some 30.

"All of them will be returned to Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan. The process has taken a long time, about two years," she added.

She said the foundation was involved in the repatriation process as the orangutans would all be accommodated by the BOS temporarily before being sent back to their habitat in Central Kalimantan.

The communication manager of BOS, Wahyu Wigati, said before making the preparations for the repatriation, the foundation had to talk with the Directorate General for Forest and Natural Preservation (PHKA) at the Forestry Ministry. She estimated the process might only take place in the third week of September. "One week before the repatriation, we will send veterinarians and a supporting team to Thailand," she added.

The Thai government will soon send back 48 orangutans from Indonesia and Malaysia after the species were confiscated from the Bangkok Zoo two years ago.

A representative of the Thai Conservation Agency, Chawal Thanyikorn, told the press in Bangkok on Monday that the agency had decided to send back the orangutan after a DNA test had shown that they were orangutans from Indonesia and Malaysia.

He said the six other orangutans had to undergo a DNA test to decide where they were born. The 54 orangutans were illegally imported by a Thai zoo and the investigation took two years.(*)

Yahoo News 14 Sep 06
Thai monkey business over as orangutans head home

BANGKOK (Reuters) - One of the world's largest cases of great ape smuggling will draw to a close next week when around 50 orangutan rescued from a Thai amusement park fly home to their native Indonesia, a wildlife campaigner said on Thursday.

The trafficked animals, many of them forced to stage mock kick-boxing bouts at Bangkok's Safari World theme park, will be greeted on their arrival by the wife of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"It's a huge scandal and it's cost a lot of time and effort, so I'm really happy to see it coming it to an end after more than three years," said Edwin Wiek of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand.

The orangutan, being held in an animal rescue center west of the capital, would leave Bangkok on an Indonesian military transport plane on October 23, Wiek said. An Indonesian embassy spokesman confirmed the repatriation plan, but said only 41 of the long-armed, reddish-brown primates were on the manifest, rather than 53 mentioned by Wiek.

After a police bust in 2004, Safari World's owners said their 115 orangutan were the result of a successful domestic breeding program. However, DNA tests proved many of the apes had been taken from Indonesia, setting the wheels in motion for their eventual departure from Thailand, a hub of the international illegal wildlife trade.

After the deaths or disappearance of at least 27 orangutan and a string of legal battles involving Wiek, forestry police and the National Parks department, the first batch was cleared for take off.

Fewer than 30,000 orangutan are thought to be left in the jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia and environmentalists say the species could become extinct in 20 years if the current rate of decline continues.

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