Legal Process Hampers Orangutan Repatriation from Thailand

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Jakarta (Greeners) – Though still waiting for legal documents, six orangutans smuggled to Thailand were ready to be sent home to Indonesia, said a senior official, in Jakarta on Tuesday (11/7).

Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok are preparing to repatriate six orangutans confiscated in Songkla and Patchburi provinces.

“So, there are six orangutans with two waiting for legal process and four are still waiting for administration process.” said Director of Biodiversity Conservation at the Ministry, Bambang Dahono Adji.

The six orangutans, he added were still waiting for DNA tests to know their origins before returned to their habitat.

READ ALSO: Common Effort to Protect Indonesia’s Rare Species

On two orangutans waiting legal process, Adji said that the embassy was negotiating to be able to bring them back with the other four orangutans.

“The process, according to the law in Thailand, will take five years. We are hoping for the embassy to be able to cut it less than 5 years. So, diplomacy approach still ongoing for the legal process but they can be returned to Indonesia,” he said. “Five years is a long time, it is possible they become domesticated and it would be difficult to rehabilitate them.”

On four orangutans, he said they were waiting for export and import permit release from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which was not easy.

It require, at least, three months for the permit considering of lists of requirements to be fulfilled, such as animals’ welfare, facilities for returning home among other things.

“We need to prepare for their transportation, the closest facility for these four orangutans,” he added.

READ ALSO: Two Arrested for Illegal Online Wildlife Trading in West Java

Meanwhile, Rasio Ridho Sani, director general of environmental law enforcement, said that cooperation between nations on law enforcement and repatriation is important to narrow the market and criminal space for illegal wildlife trafficking.

Six orangutans were smuggled from Sumatra and entered Thailand through Malaysia. In addition, Sani appreciates Thailand government on strict law enforcement to illegal wildlife traffickers.

“We appreciate Thailand government for its strong action against criminals of illegal wildlife,” he said.

Reports by Danny Kosasih