Monkey World- Ape Rescue centre speaks out

2016-03-08 06:00
Photo: supplied Some of the orangutans living at MW.

Photo: supplied Some of the orangutans living at MW.

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THE plight of Opal the orangutan, currently living in Natal Zoological Gardens, South Africa, has been at the forefront of media coverage over the past few weeks. Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre’s (MW) director, Dr Alison Cronin, has released a statement in response to the recent articles that have been released by the press globally, and have mentioned that MW might be linked with the rescue of Opal.

MW is home to Europe’s only Orangutan Crèche. As members of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP) for this species, MW at times will breed orangutans, but also offers a home to any babies born in European zoos and wildlife parks that are orphaned.

MW also rescues and rehabilitates orangutans that have been smuggled from the wild. MW is now home to three groups of orangutans numbering 17 individuals of the two different species (Bornean and Sumatran) this is the largest group of orangutans kept outside of Asia. The main threat to the orangutan in the wild is habitat loss due to the logging of primary forest for agricultural land and, in particular, the unsustainable palm oil industry.

With over 250 primates of more than 20 different species, MW – Ape Rescue Centre is the largest primate rescue centre of its kind in the world.

In the statement Cronin said that they offered a home to Opal in 2013. She said that they have also received complaints about the conditions and care of the apes at the Natal Zoo dating back to 2002.

Dr Cronin said that in 2009 she spoke directly to My Boswell about the rehoming of Opal and stated that MW would arrange transport and care for her, however nothing had come of this as Boswell said he will consider but remained mum.

“Contrary to Boswell’s statements, orangutans are very capable of and can benefit from a social relationship.

“He said that Opal could die if she were to be moved, however MW is accustomed to moving apes around the world from a variety of circumstances. We have developed specially designed transport boxes to make long haul flights for either chimps or orangutans less stressful and more comfortable,” she said.

She said that Boswell claims that this is a “publicity stunt” to “raise donations” for MW however they have never asked supporters to raise donations for Opal’s rescue whereas the SPCA have set up a funding specifically for any legal and transportations cost for Opal not for their own use.

“It must also be noted that MW is not a breeding facility. Even though MW is a member of the European Breeding Programme for orangutans all adult female orangutans have been on birth control for the past five years,” she added.

MW has gladly agreed to accept Opal and provide a safe and loving forever after for her.

Boswell did not respond to the statement at time of going to press.

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