11 July 2024

Thailand will repatriate next week the last three orangutans, smuggled into the country from Indonesia, a senior official from the National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department said today.

“We will send the latest group, comprising Nobita and Shizuka, both aged 7, and Brian, aged 4, back to Indonesia next Thursday,” said the department’s director-general, Narin Prathuanchai.

The department took custody of the great apes in 2019 and kept them at Khao Zon Wildlife Breeding Station in Ratchaburi province, according to Narin.

Since 2016, 71 orangutans have been returned to Indonesia. Narin mentioned that two orangutans, named Oong Ing and Nathalie, were returned to Jakarta In 2020.

These young apes, protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), were smuggled into Thailand and have been held here as evidence in smuggling trials. A young orangutan is reported to be worth about Bt1 million on the black market.

The department cared for the orangutans during the trials, ensuring their well-being. Narin said that the animals will undergo health checks, before being returned to Indonesia.

A ceremony to send the orangutans off will be held at the Cargo & Mail Commercial Building of Suvarnabhumi International Airport.