Orangutans are being murdered so their babies can be sold as pets

Orangutans are being slaughtered in the wild just so their babies can be sold off as pets to the rich on the black market.

The jungle animals — often just a few months old — are then kept in cages as sick “status symbols” in their homeland of Indonesia.

And despite the fact it is illegal to keep an orangutan as a pet in the country no-one has ever been prosecuted as campaigners say most keepers are “people of power.”

Footage has now emerged of one ape called Bom Bom who was being kept in a cramped cage by the wife of an Indonesian police officer.

The woman is seen breaking down in tears as her “baby” is taken away by wildlife officers to start a new life in its natural habitat.

Dr. Ian Singleton, of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, works at a rehabilitation center for animals which have been freed from captivity.

He told the BBC: “A mother orangutan will carry an infant around for almost 24 hours a day for several years so there’s no way she is going to voluntarily hand over that infant or allow anyone to take it unless she’s killed.

“She’s always going to defend that infant with her life and unfortunately that’s what usually happens.

“All the orangutans that are here…their mothers (were) almost certainly killed.”

The orangutan is still the most traded primate in the world with an estimated 4,000 trapped and sold off every year — fetching up to £17,000 ($22,180) each.

The UN now estimates 6,000 great apes — including gorillas and chimps — are captured annually for the pet market. Up to 70 percent are orangutans.

However, the number of killed orangutans during their capture is higher as orangutans are protected only by their mothers, while other infant primates are protected by entire groups.

Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan have been identified as the main hubs for the import of orangutans, but Europe and Middle East are also big markets.

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