Baby orangutans don’t belong in shopping malls, says Asia for Animals


(Featured image: Er Mao, the baby orangutan from Yunnan Wildlife Park, dressed in clothes in a shopping mall. Image from, fair use)

Letter addressed to:

Mr Liu Zhuoxin
Yunnan Wildlife Park
Chuanjin Road, Panlong District
Kunming, Yunnan
The People’s Republic of China



Dear Mr. Liu,


We are writing on behalf of the Asia for Animals Coalition, representing international animal welfare organizations.


We express our deep concerns with regards to media articles showing a member of your staff with a young orangutan, dressed in clothes, in a shopping mall in Kunming. Taking orangutans into a public area causes great concern on the grounds of public safety, the promotion of inappropriate messages to the public, and the detrimental welfare of the individual animal.

近期我们从新闻媒体了解到, 云南野生动物园的员工带着穿衣服的红猩猩幼崽逛商场一事.对此, 我们深表遗憾。将红猩猩带入公共区域会给公众安全带来极大危害,传达不恰当的信息,以及伤害动物福利。

Members of the public have little idea of how to safely handle wild animals or the dangers they expose themselves to by being in such close proximity. This orangutan is being placed into a potentially stressful situation as he is forced to deal with strange faces and unusual noises that he is not accustomed to. He therefore has a higher likelihood of responding negatively to being surrounded and handled by strangers, and this could lead to a member of the public being bitten.

社会大众对于如何与野生动物安全接触、以及如新闻报道中的和动物的近距离接触可能带来的危害, 都不甚了解。让红猩猩与陌生人接触、将其置身于商场嘈杂的环境里,会给红猩猩带来巨大的心里压力。红猩猩可能会对被陌生人包围的环境做出极端的反应,这就可能导致动物伤人事件。

Wildlife parks must act as a centre for both conservation and public education. To inspire the public to care about the plight of endangered species such as orangutans, these animals should be seen in naturalistic environments, with opportunities for them to display their natural behaviours.


Promoting close contact opportunities such as this conveys a message of animal use purely for entertainment and does nothing to promote respect and empathy for this species. Visitors are neither educated on the nature or behaviour of orangutans, nor on the need to protect and care for them and their wild counterparts.


This type of exploitation can also cause unnecessary stress and suffering for the animal concerned. Infant orangutans need to be within a species appropriate environment, where they can carry out their natural behaviors, preferably in the presence of their natural mothers. The bond between an infant orangutan and her mother is one of the strongest in nature. Infants will stay with their mothers for six to eight years, which is longer than any other single parent in the animal kingdom. The mother teaches her young where to find food, what and how to eat, how to avoid predators, and the technique for building a sleeping nest. Female orangutans are also known to “visit” their mothers until they reach the age of 15 or 16, demonstrating the extraordinary strength of the mother-infant bond. Such a prolonged association between mother and offspring is rare among mammals. Only humans have a more intensive relationship with their mothers.


Removing infants from their mothers and hand-rearing them for public interaction is therefore likely to be very stressful, where, these infants will be unable to learn the essential social skills they will require throughout their lives. Such disruption to this natural process may result in socially maladjusted animals, where they lack the skills for normal behaviour, and leading to difficulties in potential integration with other orangutans.


On behalf of the undersigned organisations and the many millions of members they represent, we respectfully ask that you end such public interaction programmes, and provide conditions within the wildlife park which allow these orangutans to display their natural behaviours.


We seek your kind attention to address this issue.



Sent on behalf of the following organisations:


  1. Animals Asia Foundation亚洲动物基金
  2. UNEP-GRASP 联合国类人猿生存合作组织
  3. Sumatran Orangutan Society 苏门答腊猩猩社会
  4. Serge Wich GRASP 科学委员会
  5. Sophie Hanson – Orangutan Foundation (OF) 猩猩基金会
  6. Ian Redmond OBE – Chairman of the Ape Alliance 猿联盟主任
  7. Ian Singleton – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) 苏门答腊保护猩猩项目
  8. Conservation Through Public Health 通过公共卫生保护
  9. African Conservation Foundation 非洲保护基金会
  10. Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) 婆罗洲猩猩生存基金会
  11. Endangered Species International 国际濒危物种社会
  12. CHIMBO Foundation 几内亚比绍黑猩猩保护基金会
  13. International Animal Rescue 国际动物援救
  14. HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme 基纳巴唐岸猩猩保护项目
  15. Project to End Great Ape Slavery (PEGAS) 消除大猿奴隶制项目
  16. Gearing Up 4 Gorillas 为了大猩猩做好准备
  17. Barcelona Zoo 巴塞罗那动物园
  18. Liz Macfie, Anthony Rylands, Russell Mittermeier – SGA (IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group) 世界自然保护联盟灵长类动物专家组
  19. Great Ape TAG (EAZA) Core Group 大猿分类咨询组(欧洲动物园和水族馆协会)核心组
  20. Animal Guardians 动物守护者
  21. Animal People 动物公民
  22. ACRES 动物关注研究和教育社团
  23. Blue Cross of India 印度蓝十字会
  24. Change for Animals Foundation 为动物改变基金会
  25. Earth Island Institute 地球岛屿协会
  26. Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations 印度动物保护组织联盟
  27. Humane Society International 美国国际人道对待动物协会
  28. International Fund for Animal Welfare 国际爱护动物基金会
  29. Philippine Animal Welfare Society 菲律宾动物福利协会
  30. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 英国皇家防止虐待动物协会
  31. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hong Kong 香港爱护动物协会
  32. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Sarawak 沙捞越防止虐待动物协会
  33. Orangutan Appeal UK – 英国猩猩号召组织
  34. Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Programme – Gunung Paung 猩猩保护项目


Copied to:

Mr Zheng
Secretary General
China Association of Zoological Gardens
No.6009, Building C, No.13 of San Lihe Road, Beijing City
The People’s Republic of China


Mr Leng
Yunnan Forestry Department
No 18, Fengyuan Road, Panlong District, Kunming, Yunnan
The People’s Republic of China


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The Asia For Animals (AfA) Coalition is composed of 16 well-known and respected animal welfare organisations that have a shared focus on improving the welfare of animals in Asia. We are committed to providing support to organisations to help with their campaigns to tackle some of the most pressing animal welfare concerns in the region. Click to see author's profile.

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