This is the heart-warming moment an abused orangutan was freed after spending two years locked up in a dark wooden box.
The ape, called Kotap, was rescued by a team from International Animal Rescue and local officials at a remote village in West Kalimantan, Borneo.
Kotap, aged just four, had spent half his life shut up in the ramshackle box, measuring just 10 sq ft, with nothing but a straw and an empty plastic bottle to play with.
He was so frightened of the outside world that he cowered at the back of his cramped home when rescuers first opened the front hatch.
Heart-warming: Footage captures the moment an abused orangutan was freed after spending two years locked up in a dark wooden box
The ape, called Kotap, was rescued by a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) and officials from the forestry department (BKSDA) of West Kalimantan, Borneo
Having spent two years in the cramped box, the ape was at first frightened to emerge. But rescuers gently coaxed him to the entrance before taking him away for specialist care and treatment
But they were eventually able to coax him to the entrance before the young animal was finally lifted to safety.
His captor, a man named Baco, claimed to have been given the orangutan by some people he met in the village of Ketapang, West Kalimantan.
Baco had spotted the small baby ape in a cardboard box and agreed to take him home and look after him.
However he soon became concerned that Kotap would disturb the neighbours and built a cage for him at the front of his house.
He had fed Kotap on a diet of human food, including bread and rice.
Baco claimed that the orangutan’s favourite meal was uncooked instant noodles, washed down with a sachet of sugary drink.
Officials from the BKSDA had previously visited Baco at his home in Rabak, a village in West Kalimantan, but were unable to persuade him to hand over Kotap.
Solitude: Rescuers found that the young ape had only a plastic straw and empty bottle to play with inside his cramped home
Freedom: Kotap eventually emerged from his wooden box having initially been too scared to come out when rescuers found him
Reluctant: At first the young animal was too scared to come out and ran to the back of his box when the hatch was opened. After years in the darkness, he clearly found the sight and sound of the outside world terrifying
Enclosure: This was the ramshackle home Kotap was kept in for two years. Moments later the hatch was opened and the young animal was given a taste of the outside world
But after they explained the plight of orangutans in Borneo and that he must act in the best interests of the animal, Baco agreed to give up Kotap.
When the door of the box was opened and IAR vet Uwi extended her hand to Kotap, at first he was frightened and ran to the back of the box where he couldn’t be reached. After years in the darkness, he clearly found the sight and sound of the outside world terrifying.
Uwi said: ‘Kotap was very stressed by all the strangers who gathered to see him when he was taken out of the box. He became nervous and aggressive which is not surprising. So during the long journey back to the centre we kept people away from him so that he remained as quiet and calm as possible.’
Rescue bid: Kotap, aged four, was eventually lifted out of the box by rescuers and taken away for treatment and rehabilitation
The outside world: International Animal Rescue vet Uwi said: ‘Kotap was very stressed by all the strangers who gathered to see him when he was taken out of the box’
Kotap ‘lived a sad and solitary existence’, according to rescuers who said the animal had been ‘unable to exercise or express any of the natural behaviour of a wild orangutan’
Caring: Rescuers said that the orangutan had been ‘deprived of everything an orangutan needs to survive in the wild’
Alan Knight, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, said: ‘This poor orangutan had been kept alone in the dark for two long years – half his entire life. He was deprived of everything an orangutan needs to survive in the wild.
‘At four years old, he should still be with his mother, learning from her how to climb and move through the forest, what foods to eat and what to avoid, and how to build a nest in the trees to sleep in each night.
‘Instead, Kotap lived a sad and solitary existence, unable to exercise or express any of the natural behaviours of a wild orangutan. He was fed an unsuitable diet that could have made him seriously ill and would surely eventually have been driven mad with boredom and frustration.
The rescuers lifted him out of the crate and carried him to their car where they put him in another box so he could be transported
Alan Knight, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, said: ‘Thankfully now, after a period in quarantine, Kotap will meet other rescued orangutans at our centre and embark on the long journey through rehabilitation back to the forest where he belongs’
Feeding time: After being rescued, the ape was transferred to a specialist unit for care and treatment. He is pictured being fed from a bottle
Monkey business: The ape seemed to enjoy his new found freedom as he was being transferred by International Animal Rescue
Recovery: After being rescued, Kotap was given fresh leaves and a bottle to drink from as he was being transferred to a better home
Kotap has undergun a periof of quarantine and will not meet other rescued orangutans to embark on the long journey through rehabilitation
‘Thankfully now, after a period in quarantine, Kotap will meet other rescued orangutans at our centre and embark on the long journey through rehabilitation back to the forest where he belongs.’
Less than two months ago IAR’s team rescued Amy whose sad story of cruelty and neglect was very similar to Kotap’s.
Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director for IAR Indonesia, said: ‘It’s high time people realised that, if they keep breaking the law by capturing orangutans and keeping or selling them as pets, then the species will soon become extinct.’