Illegal pet trade

Wild orangutan numbers are also affected by the illegal pet trade - particularly the socially inclined baby.

Estimates suggest that more than 1000 orangutans are smuggled into Java and overseas each year. Indeed, a recent report by the Centre for Orangutan Protection and Nature Alert puts the number killed or captured for the illegal pet trade at as high as 20,000 over the past ten years.

While the orangutan is protected by both national laws and international conventions, authorities rarely prosecute and penalties are mild.

For every baby that makes it to the backstreet markets of Bangkok or Taiwan another two have perished. And to "harvest" the babies a further five mothers have been killed.


Orphaned orangutans being sold on the illegal market


When it all goes wrong - chained to a tree for life or succumbing to the trauma of capture

Threats to orangutans

Loss of habitat


For the most recent news articles on loss of habitat, palm oil and the illegal pet trade, click here.