Animal Lovers Seek to KO Thailand's Orangutan Kick Boxing Matches

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Animal Lovers Seek to KO Thailand's Orangutan Kick Boxing Matches

By Billy Hutchinson, NYDailyNews.com

It's a fight club for orangutans.

A safari theme park in Thailand has become a macabre tourist attraction for its orangutan kick boxing matches - complete with simian "round card girls."

Safari World, on the outside of Bangkok, has been drawing huge crowds that cheer orangutans forced to wear boxing gloves and trained to trade punches and spin kicks.

As the heavyweights of the jungle duke it out, female orangutans parade around in bikinis displaying the round number.

After the 30-minute shows, the orangutans are returned to their dark, dingy charges, according to an investigative report.

"It's sad that people would find this entertaining," said Debbie Leahy, director of captive animals for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"When you see these animals performing what are completely unnatural tricks...they're not doing it because they want to, they're doing it because they're afraid not to," Leahy said.

The Daily Mail of London obtained video exposing the barbaric matches at Safari World and showing tourists cheering wildly as apes pummel each other.

While organizers insists the orangutans have been trained to pretend as if they've been knocked out, disgusted animal rights activists warned of the abuse the 250-pound animals endure while being trained.

Orangutans previously rescued from other entertainment parks showed signs of abuse upon arriving at an animal refuge in Indonesian Borneo, they said.

"It is heartbreaking that such practices still go on," Grainne McEntee of the wildlife rescue group Borneo Orangutan Survival told the Daily Mail. The Thai government shut down the Safari World monkey matches in 2004 - and seized 48 orangutans that had been illegally smuggled from Indonesia.

It's unclear why the bizarre show is once more allowed to go on.