By Ellie Duncombe
Rescuers in Borneo have saved three young orangutans that were held captive as pets.
A team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) joined forces with local officials, and travelled around the villages of the Ketapang District.
Although it is illegal to keep an orangutan as a pet in Indonesia, there are poachers and hunters who sell them to people to keep as pets.
Lis Key, one of the rescuers, claimed the first orangutan they rescued was a one-year-old female named Teka.
Teka was sold to her owner for £30 pounds, and living in the house as if she was a child.
The second orangutan that was rescued that day was a four-year-old boy named Untek.
He was kept in a small wooden cage in a house in Nanga Tayap District and was badly suffering from malnutrition.
Liz Key said: “The first one we rescued, called Teka, was living in a house as if she was a child.
“The second orangutan called Untek that we rescued was poorly being kept in a tiny cage in the back of a kitchen.
“He had been kept as their pet for the past four years. He had only ever eaten human food like bread, milk and biscuits.
“He was in terrible condition due to the wrong food he was given for so long.”
Both Teka and Untek were taken back to the International Animal Rescue Centre in Ketapang and settled in safely in their quarantine unit.
Just three days laters, a third oragantan was rescued – one-year-old, Opan, who was surrendered by his owner after he realised that it was illegal to have kept him.
Liz said: “Opan’s owner surrendered voluntarily after he realised he was breaking the law.
“He had apparently kept Opan for nine months after his previous owners could no longer afford to feed him.”
Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director for IAR in Indonesia, stated: “It is high time people realised that, if they keep breaking the law by capturing orangutans and keeping or selling them as pets, then the species will soon become extinct.”