Photograph by Paul Hilton
A young boy shows off his illegally owned pet, a two-year-old orphaned orangutan that was later confiscated by SOCP and the local police, in April 2012.
When the team first discovered the ape, he'd been tied up to the back of the house in a village located on the outskirts of the Tripa peat forest.
A prompt health inspection by veterinarian Saraswati found that the young orphan was not in good health. "He's suffering from malnutrition, his skin is bad, and he has a wound from where he had been tied with a rope," she said in a statement.
Although trading and owning wildlife is illegal in Indonesia, the government does not impose strict penalties for those who are caught. Instead, they are only given a warning. (Watch video: "Grisly Wildlife Trade Exposed.")
According to Singleton, based on the number of cases reported to rescue centers since 1970 in Sumatra and neighboring Borneo, there have been at least 2,800 confiscations—only three of which he knows resulted in prosecution of the owners.
"People are not afraid of being arrested for it, and the only way to change that is to see more arrests and prosecutions," he said.
Published February 28, 2013