An orang-utan named Pony was rescued in the year 2003 from a village in Central Kalimantan area in Indonesia by a team led by wildlife conservationist Dr Lone Droscher-Nielsen. When the team found her, she was found chained to a mattress, shaved off her fur and kept in a red-light area. Soon, the horrific story of her captivity was revealed. Pony, a Bornean orang-utan, was sold off when she was just an infant. The brothel where she ended up eventually treated her horribly. Her heart-breaking story is now being shared by people who were part of her rescue.
During her time in captivity at the brothel, she was shaved and done up like a woman, with makeup and perfume, to make her appealing to the palm oil farmers who raped her. They’d pay as little as £2 to the brothel keepers. Animals Feel Anguish Too: Video Shows Orangutan Fighting A Bulldozer to Protect His Home in Indonesia.
The madam at the brothel had trained her to perform sex acts for the clients. While the place also housed human prostitutes, the men were particularly interested in raping the orang-utan because of the novelty.
When she was discovered by the team or rescuers, Pony was in a terrible condition with blisters since she was constantly shaved to make her look presentable.
Dr Doescher-Neilsen, who was touched by the plight of the animal, said in an interview: “Perhaps in my naivety, I had never thought it humanly possible to do such a thing to an animal.”
The brothel keepers and the local people have resisted the rescue attempts since she was a good source of income for them. The rescue team were threatened with machetes when they tried taking Pony away. But in the end, a squad of 35 policemen armed with AK-47s forced the locals to give her up. The madam who trained Pony cried bitterly when she was taken away. Video of Orangutan Smoking Cigarette in Indonesian Zoo Goes Viral, Sparks Debate on Animal Protection.
After rescuing her, the real challenge was to get her to trust people again. Pony would never feel safe in human company, considering the horrors she has experienced, her rescuers felt. But Dr Doescher-Neilsen took up the challenge, by first keeping men away from her enclosure.
Slowly and steadily, male caretakers were introduced to her one by one so that she overcomes her fear of them.
It’s been fifteen years since she’s been rescued, but Pony doesn’t have the means to survive in the wild by herself because she has been in captivity all her life. Sadly, the law of Indonesia doesn’t have the provision to punish her exploiters, so it is unlikely that they’d be brought to justice.