Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Orangutan wings its way to the UK to find a new mate

CNA , TAIPEI

A female orangutan was sent to Britain early yesterday morning as part of a joint Taiwan-UK great-ape breeding program.

The orangutan, aged 12 and weighing 30kg, was handed over at CKS International Airport to staff from the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, a British primate facility, by zoologists from the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology.

The rescue-center personnel had traveled to Taiwan to escort the orangutan back to her new home in Britain.

The university's shelter for abandoned wild animals began planning for orangutans to be sent to Britain for breeding and research in 1999. As of last year, five orangutans and 11 gibbons had been sent to Britain.

The orangutan sent yesterday was the sixth, according to Pei Chia-chi (裴家騏), director of the shelter.

The shelter has also been cooperating with its counterparts in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand by sending other great apes there under a similar breeding and research program.

More than a decade ago, a large number of orangutans were smuggled into the country to be sold as pets or for other purposes, but which ended up being abandoned, Pei said.

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