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Monkey World News


Plucked from the wild, dressed in silk shorts, put in a boxing ring and forced to fight for a baying crowd.. TWO orang-utans slug it out in the boxing ring dressed in silk shorts and gloves.

This is the sick sport drawing crowds of cheering tourists to safari park big fight venues in Thailand.

The apes are plucked from the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra in South East Asia at a young age and trained to box against each other in front of a referee.

Now TV investigators have highlighted the barbaric practice for a documentary to be shown on Sunday.

They warn that it is hastening the demise of the orang-utan - which experts say will be extinct in the wild in 10 years.

Animal campaigners also say the apes - weighing up to 300lbs - could do themselves serious damage in the boxing ring.

Dr Alison Cronin, who filmed the humiliating contests, said: "It's very distressing to watch, they are performing like circus animals.

"It's in a huge public safari park and you have to pay to see it."

She said the destruction of the orang-utan's habitat was the key factor behind their possible extinction.

But Alison, who with Jim Cronin runs the Monkey World centre in Dorset, added: "It is also this type of performance and the entertainment industry, where they are taken into captivity as pets, which endangers them."

She said they had been doing undercover work in Thailand for three years, tracking smugglers and others ill-treating primates. Nathalie Wilkinson, producer of the Monkey Business documentary for Meridian TV, said the boxing was a money-making scheme for fight organisers.

She said: "The problem is the trainers think if they keep the animals nice and warm, it is good for them because they are endangered in the wild.

"They say they are breeding them, but you never see an adult orang-utan there."

Animal campaigners want tourists to boycott the shows.

RSPCA spokeswoman Katie Geary said: "There are so few great apes they should be appreciated in their own right, not as entertainment.

"In the boxing industry with humans, no one knows the long-term damage, but participants are taking part through choice.

"These animals haven't made that choice and they could be left with brain damage and long-term suffering.

"This is not something these animals would do naturally."

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