Cruelty to orangutans in Malaysian zoos is rife, with the animals being forced to live in "barbaric" conditions and trapped in tiny cages, campaigners have revealed.
They say that the pitiful animals never seem to be let out and are kept in cages as small as 5ft by 5ft, with little food or water at Melaka Zoo, south of Kuala Lumpur.
Orangutans, an endangered species native to Malaysia, are known to be among the most intelligent of all primates. But they are left unstimulated and cooped up, with nothing to do but stare into space.
Sean Whyte, who runs British charity Nature Alert, says: "A species that should be the pride of all Malaysia is instead being treated like prisoners on death row."
Nature Alert has has already exposed Malaysia's Johor Zoo, where a chain smoking orangutan and an elephant in chains were freed.
The organisation has campaigned tirelessly to get the Malaysian government to act on the horrific treatment of animals in their zoos, but to little effect. It is now campaigning to increase awareness of the animals' plight.
The Malaysian government's wildlife ministry Perhilitan vowed to clamp down on the appalling conditions in the country's zoos, rated among the worst in the world, but so far this has not happened.
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