New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) Following a complaint filed by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, Mumbai’s Nagpada police has registered a FIR against two persons for alleged involvement in illegal trade and custody of a baby orangutan, and cruelty to to the animal.
The orangutan’s whereabouts remain unknown.
The two persons from Mumbai’s Madanpura area have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
MP Poonam Mahajan had supported PETA India’s efforts by helping to lodge the complaint.
Earlier, the animal organisation had received a tip about the suspects after offering a reward of up to Rs 1 lakh for information leading to the rescue of the orangutan and to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible.
The accused were interrogated by officials of the Forest Department and the police at that time.
One of the suspects had posted videos and photographs of the orangutan and parakeets on Instagram, and officials recovered the footage from his phone. A video of some people surrounding and abusing the orangutan was also recovered from the phone.
“This highly intelligent ape needs to be urgently reunited with animals of the same species in his or her native country, not held captive by cruel humans and exploited on social media,” PETA India’s Manager of Veterinary Services, Rashmi Gokhale, said.
“PETA India urges anyone who knows the whereabouts of this animal to come forward immediately to protect the orangutan from further damage to his or her mental and physical health.”
The preliminary investigation by the police established that the animal was illegally imported into India without the required permit from the country of origin as mandated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an import permit from India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade, and relevant approvals from the Animal Quarantine and Certification Services and the Customs Department.
PETA India has also filed a complaint with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.