10 yrs ago in 2003 an orangutan was given a new life, she was rescued from extreme, traumtatic and highly unusual circumstances. The only reason I publish this story here is to be able to refer people to it for factual information. This story receives much uneeded & unwanted sensationalistic attention on facebook, much valuable time is wasted trying to correct unfactual info, sensationalistic claims & time wasted attempting to make the story go away for fear of giving other nasty people ideas with other orangutans. Pony is now fine, lets leave her in peace please.
Pony was confiscated by the Central Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority (BKSDA), working together with the BOS Foundation and local security forces, from a prostitution house in Kareng Pangi village, Central Kalimantan, in 2003. She was only around 6 years old at the time of confiscation.
Unthinkably, Pony was herself treated as a prostitute. Men could pay a certain amount of money to the house owner to have sex with her.
No-one knew how long Pony had been there. The house owner strongly refused to give up Pony. To her, Pony was a cash machine and a source of luck. It was not an easy effort to release Pony from this dreadful place; anyone who tried to do so faced an army of local people who were armed with cleavers, ready to fight for the house owner.
The house owner had shaved off all of Pony's hair.
Following an exhausting process that lasted for a year, the BOS Foundation and BKSDA together with the police and military forces, persuaded the house owner to give Pony to the BOS Foundation.
Pony first came to Nyaru Menteng on February 13, 2003. She was in a sad and horrible condition. The house owner had shaved off all of her hair and her body was covered in mosquito bites. She couldn’t stop scratching the bites and her skin had become infected.
In Nyaru Menteng, Pony received the much needed care she required after being subjected to such a terrible ordeal, and started to undergo the rehabilitation process. Living for so long with humans and being treated so appallingly whilst in captivity, it was not easy for Pony to learn to live as a wild orangutan.
Pony has been going through a long process of rehabilitation to forget her ordeal and regain her wild nature to become a true orangutan. She has lived in a socialisation complex with other female orangutans and also joined the Forest School. In 2005, Pony was placed on Bangamat Island, which is one of our pre-release islands, to encourage her to live more independently. Unfortunately, she was not ready for this advance stage of the learning process. Pony was not used to the trees. She preferred to stay on the ground. When hungry, she would wait for the technicians to give her food without ever trying to forage by herself. Unlike other orangutans, she never explored the island. Her travel was limited to crossing a small river between the islands to go to the technicians’ camp and ask for food.