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The return of the four orangutans to Indonesia

ALIVE News 2000

Protection of endangered wild species and conservation of their habitat

In May 1999, the case of illegal importation of 4 baby orangutans, whose natural habitat is the tropical rainforest of Indonesia, in May 1999, deeply shocked Japanese society. A large number of people are concerned about the fate of those young great apes, whose very existence is endangered by habitat destruction and wildlife trafficking.

Sadly, even when an incident of trafficking is exposed, almost all the confiscated animals end up spending the rest of their lives in inappropriate facilities without adequate care. Rarely are these animals sent back to their native country which often lack proper facilities themselves. We need to learn from this case and work on setting up a system to prevent any recurrence.

Fortunately, the Indonesian government has officially demanded the return of the four confiscated orangutans. Before they go back to their original habitat,they will be placed in Wanariset Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Samarinda of Indonesia. Three government officials, including the manager from the rehabilitation center of Orangutan Reintroduction project, Dr. Willie Smits, Director of BOS Foundation and Mr.Koes Saparjadi, Director for Conservation of Wild Flora and Fauna are planning to come to Japan and escort the orangutans back to Indonesia on 2 February.

As non-governmental organizations that have been working on this issue and making appeals for the elimination of illegal wildlife trade in Japan and the necessity of wildlife habitat conservation, we take this opportunity to hold a seminar in cooperation with the Indonesian embassy and appeal to government officials, law makers, and the mass media, as well as the concerned public of Japan to reflect on:
  • what Japan can do to conserve the habitat of orangutans;
  • how the rehabilitation of wild animals including the four orangutans should be effected;
  • the existing system to eliminate illegal wildlife trade in Japan;
  • the establishment of a system to provide appropriate care to confiscated live animals.

The post-war Japanese economy has been flourishing with a great deal of dependence on the natural resources from Indonesia. With regard to the conservation of the global environment, we believe that Japan has moral and ethical obligations to play a leading role in conserving the wildlife and its habitat in Indonesia in the 21st century.

We cordially invite you to join us; this meeting will also be a great opportunity to promote friendship between Indonesia and Japan both at governmental and private levels.

Date: 29 January 2000 (Saturday) 1-4 pm
Place: Japan Press Center (2-2-1 Uchisaiwai-cho, Minato-ku)
Orangutan Conference Committee (Director : Dr. Akira Suzuki)
The Japan Indonesia Orangutan Protection and Investigation Committee
(Kacap Fund, Pet Monkey Laboratory Japan (PML), The Japan Wildlife Conservation Society (JWCS), All Life in A Viable Environment (ALIVE))
In Cooperation with: Indonesian Embassy

Further information: ALIVE (Tel: 03-5815-7522, Fax: 03-815-7542)

  • Report on past developments
  • Remarks from Indonesian Embassy
  • Speech by Mr.Kenichiro Sato, Diet menber of The Democratic Party
  • Speech by governmental official from Indonesia Mr. Koes Saparjadi
  • Speech by Dr.Willie Smits
  • Ms. Nita from Wanariset on rehabilitation issues
  • Dr. Akira Suzuki orangutan habitat conservation
  • Report on the contents of the suggestion on relevant issues from NGOs
  • Questions/comments from the attendees
  • Joint appeal
  • Closing speech

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