Baby orangutan dies of hunger after mother shot and badly injured

PHOTO: Pixabay

The Medan-based environmental organisation Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation) in North Sumatra has said it will take care of the badly injured Sumatran orangutan whose baby recently died from malnutrition, allegedly after attacks by workers from a plantation near a protected forest in Aceh.

The foundation's veterinarian Yenny Saraswati, said her organisation planned to take the 30-year-old orangutan to its Orangutan Haven, a project developed by the group along with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and PanEco Foundation.

"The project will take care of those orangutans unable to be returned to the wild for whatever reason," Yenni told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Previously, the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) rescued the critically endangered orangutans on Sunday after receiving a report from a villager about the badly injured orangutans in Bunga Tanjung village, Subulussalam, two days earlier.

The veterinarian found 74 pellets and wounds caused by sharp weapons in many parts of the mother's body. The baby died shortly after the rescue.

"The orangutan mother's eyes were badly injured by air gun pellets. We decided to remove her eyes," Yenny Saraswati.

She said the one-month old baby died from dehydration and malnutrition as some plantation workers had chased the mother with the baby for around three days.

"The mother couldn't find food for her baby as she was already injured following the chase," Yenny said.

She said the baby was buried in the orangutan quarantine centre in Sibolangit in Deli Serdang regency.

The protected animals live only in select parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan. Their population is declining because of poaching and forest conversion, which often leads to human-animal conflict.

Sapto Aji Prabowo, the head of BKSDA Aceh, told the Post that it was currently in coordination with the legal team of the Environment Ministry to investigate the case. He also said the agency would coordinate with the regional police to stop the spread of unauthorised air rifles among the public.