Source AP ©

Four smuggled Malaysians orangutans return to Indonesia

According to officials, four orangutans believed to have been abducted from Borneo's jungles were being returned to Indonesia on Friday after spending years in a Malaysian zoo and a theme park.

Two of the great apes, named Dodi and Linda, were sent to the main zoo in southern Malacca state four years ago after wildlife officials seized them from another location in Malaysia on suspicion that they had been smuggled, said Mohamad Nawayai Yasak, director of the Malacca Zoo.

DNA tests conducted on dozens of orangutans in Malaysian zoos and parks in recent years to determine their origin showed that Dodi and Linda were from Indonesia's Kalimantan province on Borneo island, he said.

Two other orangutans named Mamat and Minah had been in a theme park in southern Johor state, also for several years, said Loo Kean Seong, a senior government wildlife official.

All the apes were being flown back Friday to Jakarta and would then be sent to a Kalimantan wildlife sanctuary, Loo said.

It was not immediately clear how the orangutans had been brought into Malaysia.

Orangutans living in the wild are found exclusively in Indonesia's Sumatra island and in Borneo, which is shared by Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna, lists orangutans as endangered, meaning trade in the animals is tightly restricted. However, activists say the smuggling of orangutans is rampant in Southeast Asia.

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