The discipline of blogging is such that we search for themes. Unlike Diamond Geezer who spent last month taking us on an admirable guided tour of Piccadilly
, my approach seems to be more random. There rarely seems to be a common thread to my ramblings. Just occasionally, however, having waited long enough, like London buses, a number of sightings come along at the same time.
Today, my classes were discussing the pets they keep. Having determined that pets are animals (giraffes?), that we have in the house (rats?), are tame (chickens? rabbits?) and that we do not eat (crocodiles? Back in the Swinging Sixties I did know a guy in Chelsea who kept one in his bath and used to wheel it down King?s Road strapped to a pair of roller skates), students then owned up to an assortment of cats and catfish, dogs and dogfish, fish and a monkey.
The lad didn't know what kind of monkey it was or that it is illegal to keep endangered species at home.
When I got home I read the Jakarta Post and on page 8 found a well laid out, grammatically correct half page plea illustrated with a photo of an orangutan chained to a log. And this is what I read.
Is this any way to treat a close relative?
The illegal orangutan trade begins with demand for them as pets.
Some think that possessing a rare or endangered animal is a status symbol, and business is big with dozens of orangutans abducted from the jungles of Kalimantan every month.
But to catch a baby orangutan, hunters must first murder its parents.
And the death toll spells genocide.
Freshly orphaned, the young orangutans are sent on a long and arduous journey to their final place of incarceration.
Even if we have not directly participated in this process, general apathy has allowed the species to rapidly decline in the wild, with extinction predicted as early as the year 2020.
Genetically we share 97.4% DNA with these gentle primates.
How does a difference of just 2.6% make us so cruel?
Visit www.primata.or.id to find out how you can change before it's too late.
So, I did and discovered that this is the website of the newish primate centre
at Ragunan Zoo here in Jakarta. Zoos in general are not my favourite places, and Ragunan in particular is not a place for an expat to visit, especially at weekends. The locals are inclined to treat us as more interesting exhibits than the poor frustrated
animals who have to spend their entire lives here, so, not having visited recently, I'll refrain from any comments about the centre.
However, this is a good website with lots of interesting information about the different primates indigenous to Indonesia. For example, I didn't know that the gibbons who regularly visit Hotel Rimbo
where I'll be spending Xmas ~ whoopee, goody-goody gumdrops
, are Hylobates Rafflei
. It's that man Raffles again
This sudden interest has arisen because Safari World
in Bangkok has been holding kick-boxing tournaments involving 100 orangutans, supposedly victims of a smuggling racket
Forestry officials from Jakarta say Safari World is involved in Indonesia's biggest ever case of orangutan smuggling, even though the zoo insists all its animals were acquired through the proper channels, or bred in captivity (although) conservationists are confident DNA tests will reveal if any animal was born in the wild.
Jakartass believes that contact sports involving deliberate blows to the head, such as boxing, are participated in by brain damaged people. If you're not when you start, then you are when you quit. Unfortunately, in my view spectators are no more intelligent and are merely looking for cheap thrills
Trade in primates is instant greed, often coupled with the rape of the rainforests such as Leuser National Park
in Aceh, North Sumatra. That groups in Indonesia are involved in stopping the abuse of our close cousins is as welcome as it is surprising.
After all, current President Megawati gave her approval for the road being built through Leuser, whilst Indonesian diplomats have ... jumped to the defense of what is a national icon, urging speedy resolution of the spat
Let me make a monkey out of you!