A CHARITY based in Uckfield has helped rescue two baby orangutans who were found by police in West Borneo caged and ready to be sold through social media to illegal buyers.
The two apes, a year-old male and an eight-month female, which were discovered in tiny cages are now in the care of the International Animal Rescue (IAR) at their centre in Ketapang.
A man was arrested for the trafficking of wildlife both directly and by using online social media sites. He is said to have bought collected the apes from a hunter and was selling them for about IDR 3 million (about £175).
A spokeswoman for the charity said: “The general condition of the two orangutans is fair, although both are dehydrated and suffering from severe distress. One of them is rocking back and forth – this is an abnormal behaviour presented by animals in extremely stressful conditions.”
He said: “Our team is continuing its investigation as we believe the man now under arrest belongs to an international trafficking syndicate.”
The charity said it was likely that the orangutans would be sold via social media such as Facebook or Instagram.
Orangutans in Borneo have experienced rapid declines of up to 60% in the last 50 years according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
IAR was founded in by committed animal rights activists John and Jo Hicks in 1989 using a large personal legacy. Mr Hicks passed away in 2015, aged 63.
The charity has expanded to include offices in the United States, India, Indonesia, Malta and the Netherlands.
Comedian and former Tunbridge Wells Girl’s Grammar pupil Jo Brand, fellow comedian BILL Bailey and former England rugby player Trevor James Woodman MBE are among its patrons.