IAR Ketapang and the Sintang Refugees
Things took a momentous turn in Spring 2011 following a tragic disaster at the fledgling, ill-fated orangutan rescue center in Sintang, also in West Kalimantan but much further to the north near the border with Malaysia.
Orangutan Outreach had tried to set up a facility in this town known to be the last stop on the animal smuggling route from the Indonesian interior to Malaysia, but it was never able to acquire legal status. The center was thwarted at every turn by an incompetent local management that ultimately could not be trusted with the lives of the rescued orangutans. Indeed, unspeakable tragedy struck when one of the orangutans, a precious baby named Luna, 'disappeared' from the center one afternoon under extremely suspicious circumstances.
Read about the tragic loss of baby Luna here. We can say with full confidence that Luna was trafficked from the center— sold by the very people charged with caring for her...
Following this "unsolved" (read: not investigated by the corrupt local management) crime, Orangutan Outreach cut all ties with the suspicious managers at Sintang and, together with our partners COP and JAAN, worked with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry to evacuate the 11 remaining orangutans to safety at IAR Ketapang. You can read the harrowing tale here.
We are forever grateful for IAR's willingness to take in these 11 refugees. We only wish Luna could have made the journey with all her friends... To this day, we condemn the illegal and immoral activities of Willie Smits, a charlatan who pretends to be helping orangutans while in reality aligning himself with oligarchs, enriching himself and leaving the orangutans to suffer.
Adopt an orangutan!
You can directly support the care of the Sintang Refugees at IAR Ketapang by adopting them! For just USD $15/month (or USD $150/year) you can help cover the costs for their food, care and enrichment. You can 'meet' Pingky and Neng on our adoption page. Just click on the images below to learn more about them!