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Home Page > News > From victim of the illegal wildlife trade to Nuttelex ambassador – meet Jaw!

We are so proud to have Jaw, one of the many orangutans rescued by Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), starring on the new Nuttelex ZERO – No Palm Oil pack!

On 19 December 2007, female orangutan Jaw was rescued together with three of her friends, Yok-Yek, Toui (pronounced Tauwie) and Joy, by Dr Biruté Mary Galdikas, founder of OFI, from a horrendous life being forced to work in the Bangkok “tourist entertainment” industry in an orangutan boxing show.

In these shows, male orangutans are forced to fight each other in boxing matches as a tourist attraction for paying customers. After the show, the orangutans are returned to their dark and dingy cages.

Jaw, Yoy-Yek, Toui and Joy were “round card girls”. They were forced to parade around on their hind legs between rounds holding above their heads cards displaying round numbers. They wore tiny bikinis and full-face makeup, ironically making them look somewhat like Kabuki geishas. They were also forced to “smile.” The irony is that an orangutan smile can consist of a “fear” grin or a “play face.” The two expressions are very similar. Which expression the “bikini girls” displayed is not known, but we can guess.

At the time of their rescue, Jaw and Yok-Yek were 7 years old, Toui was 6 while Joy was 5. After a long period of bureaucratic wrangling to allow Dr Biruté to bring the girls home to Borneo from Thailand, they arrived at the OFI Care Centre in Central Indonesian Borneo. The Care Centre is a half-way house for rescued ex-captive orangutans, providing them with food, shelter, and love along with the opportunity to learn the skills they need on their journey to the wild.

When they arrived at the OFI Care Centre, Jaw and the girls were so traumatised from their previous life that they would walk around their shared enclosure on their hind legs with their arms in the air (as if still holding round cards) for fear of being punished. It took some time before they realised that they were now in a kind place and could relax, walk on all fours, and start to learn to be orangutans again.

Jaw, Yoy-Yek, Toui, and Joy, affectionately known at OFI as the “Bangkok Beauties”, now live in one of OFI’s haha’s with rescued adult male orangutan Ricky, who is also a victim of the illegal wildlife trade. A haha is an artificial island consisting of tropical rainforest surrounded by a wide dry moat and a wall. This allows the “girls” to have the very best quality of life while they await permanent release. Here in their small haha forest sanctuary they live in relative freedom, able to spend their time each day as they please, practicing the skills they need, such as building night nests and foraging for fruit, leaves and bark in the forest canopy, to succeed living in the wild.

We look forward to the day we can announce that Jaw and her friends have been permanently released back to the wild where they belong. To release rehabilitated orangutans back to their rainforest home, OFI continues to purchase safe and protected forest land as part of The Orangutan Legacy Forest Project. Five cents from every purchase of a tub of Nuttelex Zero Palm Oil Free sold is donated to OFI Australia to help with the purchase and protection of essential rainforest habitat for the long-term conservation of orangutans. Thank you Nuttelex!

For more information about new Nuttelex Zero Palm Oil Free, please visit