ACEH, Indonesia – Veterinarians at Indonesia’s Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency were tending on Monday to wild animals that have been confiscated or returned from being kept as pets in the hopes of reintroducing them into the wild.
Rare and near-extinct species of primates, felines, birds, bears and even alligators are housed at the Natural Resources Conservation Agency in Aceh, an Indonesian region in northern Sumatra and one of the most densely forested areas in Southeast Asia.
The animals appeared to have completely been tamed and domesticated, demonstrating a familiarity with humans that could harm their chances of survival in the wild. One of the orangutans in the enclosure was seen holding a staff member’s hand, at one point refusing to let go, an epa journalist reported Monday.
Animals at the center have been confiscated or returned from being illegally kept as pets, and undergo a years-long rehabilitation program to increase their chances of survival.
“It needs a lot of effort to rewild these animals as they have already been kept for a long time. We also campaign against the domestication of animals for any purpose,” said Dr Taing, one of the center’s veterinarians.
Their tasks at the center include alleviating the physical and psychological trauma suffered by the animals as a result of being raised among humans since they were young.
This includes reducing the psychological attachment they develop with humans, as well as dealing with the animals’ lack of nutrient intake following years of eating human food, according to an epa reporter.
Reintroducing orangutans, one of the most endangered apes in the world, into the wild, usually takes up to 3-4 years, as the primates are taught to climb and hang from the trees by the veterinarians as part of the rewilding efforts.
Wildlife trade is common in Indonesia with frequent raids of homes of suspected wildlife traffickers who sell wild animals, caught in the forest or acquired from poachers, on the black market.