Captive orangutan forced to wear makeup and earrings at brothel where customers paid $2 to have sex with her
Rescuers found Pony, an endangered Bornean orangutan, chained to a wall and lying on a mattress in a brothel village at Kareng Pangi, Central Kalimantan
Conservationists who rescued an orangutan who was used in the Indonesian sex trade have recently recounted the horrifying story of her ordeal.
In February 2003, rescuers found Pony, an endangered Bornean orangutan, chained to a wall and lying on a mattress in a brothel village at Kareng Pangi, Central Kalimantan. Her condition was deteriorating by the day after having been ruthlessly exploited by local palm oil farmers who would come to the village and have sex with her for a meager £2 ($2.5).
Pony was treated extremely harshly by her captors after having been snatched from her mother when she was just a baby. They taught her to perform sex acts on demand for her customers, shaved her every two days, and forced her to wear perfume and makeup.
Speaking to The Sun, Lone Droscher-Nielson, who was part of the team who rescued Pony in 2003, said: "When I found that she was used for prostitution and not just a pet, I was horrified. Perhaps in my naivety I had never thought it humanly possible to do such a thing to an animal."
In a conversation with Vice back in 2007, Michelle Desilets, the director of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, said: "They [the farm workers] would come in especially for [her]. You could choose a human if you preferred, but it was a novelty for many of the men to have sex with an orangutan."
Pony's owners were reluctant to let her go and threatened rescuers with machetes when confronted, Michelle said. "She was being used as a sex slave," she added, "She was probably about six or seven years old when we rescued her, but she had been held captive by a madam for a long time."
Ultimately, 35 law enforcement authorities armed with AK-47s and other weaponry apprehended Pony's owners and were able to retrieve her from their captivity. She was rushed to a nearby orangutan sanctuary run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation after being rescued from the brothel.
"She slowly recovered and male carers were slowly introduced to her," Lone continued, "She didn't seem to be afraid of them anymore and she was happy with any company she could have. Eventually, she was moved to one of the islands." Now, Pony lives in an enclosure in Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre with seven other orangutans and is in good health.
Monterado Fridman, the sanctuary's Communication and Education Coordinator, said: "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."
That said, the orangutan will most likely not be released into the wild because she has simply spent too long in captivity to learn basic survival skills, her keepers said. On the other hand, her captors never faced charges for their despicable actions owing to the lawless nature of rural Indonesia, Daily Mail reports.