Orangutan Return Monitored, Awareness of Wildlife Smuggling Raised

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Two infants were among the 14 orangutans repatriated to Indonesia last week. Photo: Freeland

Two infants were among the 14 orangutans repatriated to Indonesia last week.
Photo: Freeland

On November 12, a group of 14 smuggled orangutans were transported from Bangkok back to their native Indonesia. Freeland, the lead implementing partner of the USAID ARREST program, was among the conservation organizations invited to witness the event. Freeland has been instrumental in organizing the DNA testing of smuggled orangutans in Thailand so subspecies can be reliably determined and correctly returned. The safe return of the orangutans helped to raise awareness among the general public on the poaching and smuggling of wild orangutans for commercial zoos through an article published on the Freeland blog, which reached an audience of over 4,200 on the Freeland Facebook page alone, and collectively received over 600 likes, 50 shares and 30 tweets across USAID ARREST partner social media platforms. Raising awareness of endangered species exploitation and reducing demand for wildlife is one of the key objectives of the program, as well as encouraging behavioral change to prevent previous species – including orangutans – from being traded to extinction. For full story, please click here.

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