The gruesome story of an orangutan used in the Indonesian sex trade has recently been retold by conservationists who rescued her.
According to the rescuers, they saved Pony — an endangered Bornean orangutan — in February of 2003 from a brothel village in Kareng Pangi, Central Kalimantan. Per a report by the Daily Mail, when the animal was discovered, it was chained to a wall and was found lying on a mattress.
In retelling the rescue story, conservationists revealed some horrible details about how the animal was exploited in the brothel, where perverted oil farmers would visit and pay $3 to have sex with her.
Pony was snatched from her mother when she was a baby, and her captors treated her in an abhorrently harsh manner by making her wear jewelry, perfume and makeup, and shaving her every two days. The poor animal was also trained to perform sex acts based on customers’ demand, the report said.
In an interview with the Sun, Lone Droscher-Nielson, a member of Pony’s rescue team, said that he was horrified to learn that the ape was not used as a pet but as a sex slave. “Perhaps in my naivety, I had never thought it humanly possible to do such a thing to an animal,” he said.
The orangutan sex slave forced to work at a BROTHEL https://t.co/P0V1vkz92a
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 26, 2018
As further detailed by the Daily Mail story, Michelle Desilets, the director of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, told VICE back in 2007 that Pony was a popular choice among those who used to visit the brothels, and 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.”
Michelle further explained how the ape’s captors hesitated to let Pony go when the rescue team initially went to recover her. The team was even “threatened with machetes.”
“She was being used as a sex slave,” Michelle said, adding that Pony was about 6- or 7-years-old when she was rescued “but she had been held captive by a madam for a long time.”
The conservationists recalled that it wasn’t easy to rescue Pony from her captors, and it took 35 policemen armed with AK-47s and other weaponry going in the brothel to recover her.
The traumatized ape was then taken to a nearby orangutan sanctuary operated by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, the report said.
Lone explained that after the rescue, the ape gradually started recovering from her trauma and male carers were slowly introduced to her. “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.”
Fifteen years after her rescue, Pony is now in good health and lives in an “enclosure in Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre with seven other orangutans,” the report said.
Unfortunately, however, her captors never faced charges for their actions because of the lawless nature of rural Indonesia.