Following PETA India Tip-Off, Two Suspects Interrogated by Mumbai Police for Illegal Orangutan Trade

For Immediate Release:

27 August 2020

Contact:

Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Monica Chopra; [email protected]  petaindia

Group Received Information After Announcing Rs 1 Lakh Reward for News About Animal’s Whereabouts

Mumbai – On Tuesday, after offering a reward of Rs 1 lakh for help in identifying the whereabouts of a baby orangutan in Mumbai, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India received a tip-off which was shared with the Maharashtra Forest Department. As a result, two suspects from the Madanpura area of Mumbai are being detained and interrogated by Forest Department and Mumbai police in connection with the case. One of the suspects had posted video and photographs of the orangutan and some parakeets on Instagram, which were also recovered from his phone by officials. A video of few people surrounding and abusing the animal was also recovered from the phone of the other suspect.

The forest officials rescued two parakeets kept in cages illegally by one of the suspects at his home and filed a Preliminary Offence Report against him under Sections 9, 39, 48, and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Forest officials and police are still working to identify the location of the orangutan. PETA India also filed a complaint at the Nagpada police station, urging the police to file a First Information Report against the perpetrators under Sections 269 and 289 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(k) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The photographs and video of the orangutan with the suspects are available for download upon request.

“It’s vital that this smart, social animal be reunited with other orangutans in that species’ home country, not exploited for entertainment by callous people,” says PETA India Manager of Veterinary Services Dr Rashmi Gokhale. “Anyone with more information about the orangutan should contact PETA India’s animal emergency helpline on +91 9820122602 or e-mail [email protected] Informers’ identities will be kept confidential upon request.”

On 7 July 2020, an inspection conducted by the Forest Department and a PETA India veterinarian at a suspect’s house in Agripada had confirmed the presence of a baby orangutan on the premises, but the custodian absconded with the little ape. PETA India received a complaint after a family in Bandra who was given temporary custody of the orangutan posted pictures and videos of the animal on social media. The investigation by the Forest Department established that the animal was illegally imported into India without the required permit from the country of origin, an import permit from India’s director general of foreign trade, or any other relevant approvals from Animal Quarantine and Certification Services or the customs department in India. PETA India filed a complaint with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

Orangutans are a species of great ape native to Indonesia and Malaysia and are listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

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