Rangers from Mount Leuser National Park have rescued two juvenile Sumatran orangutans from a poacher who allegedly planned to sell the critically endangered apes on the black market.
The two orangutans were discovered by officers in Empus Village, Bahorok district, in Langkat regency, North Sumatra, on Thursday afternoon. The park’s technical division head Nurul Hadi said the two young orangutans were a one-year-old female and a two-year-old male.
The officers discovered them in good condition.
Two orangutans, a 1-year-old female and a 2-year-old male, lie down in their cage after being rescued from smugglers in Empus village, Langkat, North Sumatra, on Jan. 9. (Apriadi Gunawan/Apriadi Gunawan)
From their behavior, Nurul suspected that the one of them had been in captivity for some time.
“The female is familiar with humans while the male one is still wild. We heard that they would be sold at an illegal market for a fantastic price,” Nurul told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
He explained that one young orangutan is worth between Rp 30 million (US$ 2,164) and Rp 50 million on the black market.
The high price has led to a spike in poaching at Mount Leuser National Park, Nurul said, adding that most poachers sought baby or juvenile orangutans as they were worth more than adults.
“This is a threat to orangutan sustainability. There are many young orangutans being hunted and sold overseas,” he said.
The National Park and other officials are seeking further information related to the poaching network operating at the park.
Nurul said one of the networks currently being investigated by police was allegedly led by Riswansyah, aka Iwan Gondrong. The 39-year-old resident of Kwala Nibung village, Bahorok district, was suspected of being the poacher behind the capture of the two young orangutans.
“We are still hunting him down based on indications that he is allegedly part of an orangutan trafficking syndicate,” Nurul added.
Mount Leuser National Park administrative division head Joko Iswanto said the park would hand over the two orangutans to the Law Enforcement Center at Sumatra’s Environment and Forestry Ministry for rehabilitation.
He added that they would be released into their original habitat in the National Park when they were ready. (sau)