There seems to be an ongoing conflict between humans and orangutans as palm oil, logging, and paper industries shrink the animals' jungle habitat.
An endangered orangutan has been blinded after being shot nearly 74 times with an air gun on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, according to Independent. The orangutan, named Hope by the rescuers, has at least 74 pellets in her body, according to an X-Ray, including four in its left eyes and two in the right, said Yenny Saraswati, a veterinarian with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. She also said Hope was blinded by the shooting and also had several open wounds that seem to be caused by sharp objects. Hope underwent surgery on Sunday to repair a broken collar bone. Hope was a mother, but her month-old baby died due to malnourishment.
There seems to be an ongoing conflict between humans and orangutans as palm oil, logging, and paper industries shrink the animals' jungle habitat. A severely injured Hope was found by villagers in a farm in Aceh province's Subulussalam district last week with her month-old baby son slumped by her side, severely dehydrated after being unable to fend for himself. Sapto Aji Prabowo, who heads the Aceh provincial conservation agency, said the baby suffered from critical malnourishment.
According to Daily Mail, Prabowo said, "Truly barbaric are those people who tortured them. The orangutan is currently in the care of the BKSDA." Now, government officials are hunting for the people behind the barbaric attack, which has left Hope too wounded to return to the wild. "Hopefully, Hope can pass this critical period, but she cannot be released to the wild anymore," said Saraswati.
She also mentioned that during Hope's surgery, they did not remove any of the air gun pellets because their priority was to fix the animal's broken collarbone because of the high risk of infection it posed. According to the orangutan conservation program, air guns are readily available in Indonesia to shoot and kill wildlife, and it's posing as a major threat to the lives of innocent animals because of their excessive use.
A three-month-old orangutan named Brenda was also being tended to by SOCP vets and volunteers after she was evacuated from a village with a broken arm, and she had to have surgery to fix it. Within the last ten years, the organization claims they've treated at least 15 orangutans with more than 500 air gun pellets in their body. An orangutan in the Indonesian part of Borneo was shot almost 130 times last year, and it was the second known killing of an orangutan that year.
A 2018 comprehensive study of Borneo's orangutans shows that their numbers have drastically dropped by more than 100,000 since 1999, as the palm oil and paper industries shrink their habitat and fatal conflicts with people have increased. Only around 13,400 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature have listed the species under 'critically endangered'.
Conservationists predict that without immediate action, orangutans are likely to be the first great ape to become extinct in the wild. The Forestry and Environment Ministry said in a statement, "We condemn the savage attack on orangutans carried out by irresponsible people." The Forestry and Environment Ministry also said that Hope would need therapy before being released back into the wild.
Hope is now doing better and SOCP took to Instagram to share a video of Hope with the message: Three days under the care and monitoring of the SOCP Vet team, Orangutan 'Hope' looks in better condition. She is starting to eat some fruits and drink milk. But she's still in the intensive care cages. SOCP Vet team is planning to conduct further medical treatment for her bone fracture soon. Let's all hope she has a speedy recovery!