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Orangutan DNA

Daniek Hendarto | April 26, 2012


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Hot weather in Jakarta did not make the APE Warrior team’s spirit down to collect the information about illegal captive orangutan at East Jakarta. Based on minimal information, Reza and Bagas, an Orangufriends, tracked the location of the orangutan.

Tipar Cakung is densely populated area in eastern of Jakarta. Narrow roads, traffic jams, and hot weather accompanied them while investigating the orangutan location. A motorcycle was the best solution trough the crowded street and narrow alleys with scrap metal along the way. This area was one of scrap metal center.

The motorbike run slowly, and the team looked at the right and left of the road to ensure the existence of this orangutan. After almost 4 hours driving, the team arrived at a densely populated street with luxurious mansion among the houses. Next to the gate of the big house, there was a trash bin and wastewater ditch that were very stink. And over the ditch, there was an orangutan behind the bars.

Reza turned off his motorbike and walked to the orangutan to ensure his condition. His name is Roy. And he had lived in the tiny cage for almost 10 years. Roy’s cage was over the ditch, and the mount of garbage made him more suffered to live there.

Reza and Bagas documented him and left that place immediately. When they asked a lot to the people there about Roy, the people looked unhappy and suspicious. The area was a crime-prone area, so they had to be careful to avoid conflict.

Soon, I wrote a report to BKSDA of Jakarta. After the letter finished, we were heading to the BKSDA office to meet with the head of BKSDA Section 1 in East Jakarta. The BKSDA responded well of our report and they conveyed their gratitude for the information about Roy. And we were back home with full of hope waiting for BKSDA’s answer to follow up our report.

Two days later, my phone was ringing. That was the head of BKSDA section 1 of East Jakarta on the phone, and he asked COP to rescue Roy in the afternoon at the same day. And the APE Warrior team was driving fast to the location of Roy.

It took two hours driving. The four staffs of BKSDA were waiting. We began to discuss the evacuation. Roy was a teenage orangutan with a big body, so we had to make him unconscious with anesthetic. The veterinary of Tegal Alur Animal Rescue Center in Jakarta was coming to give Roy anesthetic. At night, animal rescue of COP and BKSDA attracted attention of people there. So, we have to work fast to avoid the riot from the people who did not like if Roy to be rescued. 

When the anesthetic began to work, Reza was deftly cutting the padlock with plier steel and trying to handle Roy. Narrow cage made the evacuation effort slow. BKSDA ordered us to move Roy to the transport cage immediately. The smell of the water ditch and the insecure situation made us to work very quickly. 

Finally we could move Roy from the transport cage to the car, and we immediately left the location. After we passed the location, we were very relieved, because we could get through it all safely. 

Roy’s owner was an important person in that area. Our concern was the resistance of the people to keep Roy. But right now, Roy had left the smell wastewater, a mound of rotting garbage, and the violence from others who disturbed him. 

According to the community, 3 days before Roy was evacuated, he nearly died from electrocution. But Roy was luck. He was still alive and he would have a new life in a new world. Our hard work paid off in the end, while Roy was moved to better location. Roy’s smile would in our dream when we had reached the beloved Jakarta office. We hope, Roy is happier.

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