• by: BAT SA
  • recipient: Mr Brian Boswell, Natal Zoological Gardens and Lion Park

The Malay word orangutan means "person of the forest", and being the most arboreal of the great apes, they spend most of their time in trees, originating in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Being semi-solitary by virtue of food dispersion they are however still social, sometimes travelling in groups, forming very close bonds with their offspring, and demonstrating the ability to be more social in sanctuary/rehabilitation settings where food location isn’t an issue. They make and use tools as do all the great apes, and some experts consider them to be more intelligent than Chimpanzees on the basis of their problem solving abilities. Their average lifespan is 45-55 years.
Opal the Orangutan has been a resident of Brian Boswell’s Natal Zoological Gardens and Lion Park in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, for 34 years, where she has spent most of her time in isolation, after losing her mate and only baby. Her barren enclosure in no way replicates a natural environment, and no stimulation and enrichment is provided to prevent boredom and depression. Captive primates suffer acutely in captivity when their external environment does not provide enough activities and stimulation to engage their brains, and this is evidenced by her sitting and staring forlornly, and by her flinging her own faeces at visitors.
We implore the people of South Africa, and the International Community, to support an appeal to Mr. Boswell to work with accredited organisations and release Opal to a specialised Sanctuary, where her unique needs can be met for the remainder of her life. Confining her to this barren existence for the rest of her days is inhumane and tantamount to extreme cruelty.
The signatures to this petition will be delivered to Mr Brian Boswell by BAN ANIMAL TRADING SA

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