Illegal Wildlife Trade and Poaching

An estimated over 7000 animal species are victims of the illegal wildlife trade. The exact number of affected great apes is unknown, but orangutans make up most of the victims, particularly babies. We find orangutan mothers brutally killed by traffickers who sell the orphaned babies on national and international markets like drugs.

While national laws and international conventions protect orangutans, authorities rarely prosecute, and penalties are mild. For every baby who makes it to the backstreet markets of Bangkok or Taiwan, another two have perished. And to capture the babies, a further five mothers are killed.

A baby orangutan kept illegally as a pet

Although illegal, keeping wild animals as pets is widespread in many parts of Indonesia, and wildlife markets are a feature of most large towns and cities. People also use orangutans as status symbols to show their wealth and power.

Like all great apes, orangutans have slow life histories and, for the first few years of their lives, are docile, sweet and gentle. However, at around five years of age, an orangutan already has the strength of an adult human male and, by maturity, will be as strong as five to seven adult human males, with an unpredictable and possibly aggressive nature that makes them unsuitable as pets. At this stage, many pet orangutans are killed or kept in confinement.

The latter also applies to entertainment facilities, where orangutans are forced to perform in irresponsible show acts. The wildlife tourism industry is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry – profits that only come with indescribable cruelties.

In addition, easier access and encroachment of people into orangutan forests also leads to the increased hunting of orangutans for meat, skulls and other body parts, which find their way into medicinal products or become tourist souvenirs.

As part of BOS New Zealand’s commitment to saving these critically endangered great apes, we invest heavily in educating local communities, helping them to coexist peacefully alongside wild orangutans.

The illegal wildlife trade has also been linked to zoonotic outbreaks and pandemics. Millions of human lives have been lost already, with over six million and counting through the current pandemic alone.

If you want to help us stop suffering, please:

  • Boycott entertainment facilities that don’t have the proper accreditation.
  • Report wild animals kept in non-species appropriate conditions.
  • Support organsations like BOS New Zealand, which protect and reforest habitats so orangutans are not forced out of their natural homes and have to forage dangerously close to human settlements.



How Can You Help

There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.

Make a Donation

Make a Donation

Please help the Orangutans in their struggle for survival. Your donation is important and goes directly to BOS Indonesia. By donating, you are helping bring this noble yet endangered species back from the brink of extinction and on a path to freedom - from rescue to rehabilitation and release.

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