"They'd brought him from Sumatra, in the Indies"

 Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia.  It is one of the largest islands in the world, with a largely Muslim population of over 50 million people.  It had been colonised by nearby countries since 500BC, and visited by Marco Polo in the 15th Century, before coming under Dutch control in the 19th Century.  Despite a natural abundance of flora and fauna, the destruction of nearly half of its forests since 1985 has had serious effects.  Its native tiger, rhinoceros and orangutan populations are all now critically endangered.  The country suffered greatly in the Asian Tsunami of 2004, when over 170,000 Indonesians were killed.  It also suffered earthquakes in 2005 and 2010