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Illegal orangutan trader prosecuted
Date:2/23/2012

NEW YORK (February 23, 2012) The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) announced today Sumatra's first ever successful sentence of an illegal orangutan owner and trader in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

The seven-month prison sentence is only the third for Indonesia, despite orangutans being strictly protected under Indonesian law since 1924.

Although there have been over 2,500 confiscations of illegally held orangutans in Indonesia since the early 1970's, the first actual prosecution of an illegal orangutan owner occurred in Borneo in 2010, and now in Sumatra with this case in 2012.

The case began with the confiscation of a young male orangutan named Julius last July in Mardinding, Karo District, in the province of North Sumatra. The owner was allegedly trying to sell the orangutan, which was believed to be three years old.

The raid was conducted by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry's Directorate-General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA), working in conjunction with WCS's Wildlife Crime Unit and the veterinarian and staff of the SOCP.

The Wildlife Crime Unit, created by WCS in 2003 and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other donors, provides data and technical advice to law enforcement agencies to support the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes.

The SOCP, implemented by the Swiss-based PanEco Foundation, and the Indonesian NGO YEL (Foundation for a Sustainable Ecosystem) have operated the only orangutan rescue center in Sumatra since 2001 and have so far reintroduced over 150 confiscated ex-pet orangutans back to the wild. Julius is now being cared for at the SOCP's orangutan quarantine center near Medan, with just over 50 other orangutans also being prepared for a return to the forest.

After spending 30 days in quarantine, Julius is now living in a socialization cage, which allows him to adapt to the presence of other
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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