For Prashant Khetan, chief executive officer for Born Free USA, a major concern is where the young orangutan will end up once he becomes stronger and less tolerant of human interaction.
“Orangutans are typically solitary, so getting one to interact with humans will take some ‘training’ — which is why this orangutan is chained and at one point abused by his handler,” Khetan told The Dodo. “They can live to 40-50 years. There will come a time when the orangutan will need to be disposed of because this ‘act’ is no longer profitable for the owner.”
When primates are used for entertainment by zoos, particularly in Asia, it’s very likely that they were sourced from the illegal wildlife trade, Khetan added. This often involves stealing babies from their mothers in the wild to be sold after killing the mothers — eliminating the babies’ chances of learning important survival and socialization skills that their mothers would have taught them in their first years of life.