The first step
Illegal captive pet orangutans are normally confiscated by local representatives of the Government's Nature Conservation Department PHKA in cooperation with an SOCP veterinary and operational staff.
We usually find out about illegal pet orangutans when people see them being kept at home or elsewhere and contact us to report them. On occasions we also encounter them ourselves as YEL and PanEco staff are frequently travelling around the region. Sometimes it is the owners themselves who contact us directly, as they are no longer able or wish to keep the animals. After being informed of the orangutans existence, the next step is reconnaissance. We need to confirm that the animal really is an orangutan (in some parts of Sumatra the term can cover a number of different primate species), we need to confirm the location, and if possible obtain photographic evidence. At the same time we will also try to obtain information about the owner and the health of the animal. We then contact the relevant BKSDA office and ask them to confiscate the animal. KSDA is a section of the PHKA that specialises in species conservation issues, as opposed to forests and habitat generally. After some discussion we make final arrangements with them regarding the time, date and logistics needed for the confiscation and they prepare the appropriate documentation.
- The "Surat Perintah Tugas", a letter that roughly translates to "duty order letter" and basically orders the relevant KSDA staff to carry out the confiscation. This letter gives the staff legal authority, in the eyes of the orangutan's owner, to confiscate it as an illegal pet.
- Confiscation/surrender form: this is a form that the orangutan's owner must sign when the orangutan is confiscated. The form includes a statement that he/she officially surrenders the orangutan to the government. This form also states clearly that the orangutan will be taken to the official SOCP quarantine station for Sumatra and embark on the reintroduction process, under the full control of BKSDA.
Under the recognized procedures there has to be a forestry police officer present at the confiscation. Depending on circumstances, sometimes we also have to take along representatives of the regional police force and in some cases also the military police to back up the forestry officer. One of SOCP's veterinarians will also go along on confiscations unless we are convinced that the orangutan is fit and well enough to be transported safely to the quarantine without veterinary intervention. In such cases we may send non-veterinarian staff, but only those who also have experience of orangutan capture and anaesthesia and basic medical management. In some cases, the relevant BKSDA office obtains the animals themselves, using their own veterinarians if necessary and later transports them to usConfiscation in other areas
SOCP's orangutans do not only come from the local Medan area. Some come from other provinces in Sumatra and some have even come from outside of Indonesia, in neighbouring Malaysia. . In such cases the relevant forestry office for that area will arrange the transfer of the orangutan to the North Sumatra KSDA office.