Rescuers Found A Baby Orangutan And Its Blind Mother With 74 Air Gun Pellets In Her Body At A Palm Oil Plantation

Rescuers Found A Baby Orangutan And Its Blind Mother With 74 Air Gun Pellets In Her Body At A Palm Oil Plantation

Palm oil is a biofuel which has many roles to play for us. This vegetable oil is cheap and can be used for many cosmetic products and household products too. Because of its versatility, about 50% of all consumer goods use palm oil for a range of reasons. The demand for that versatile oil is increasing in the current world as well.

However, the extraction of palm oil has severe effects on our eco-system. While it's a biofuel, which is encouraged in general, palm oil demands have led to an increase in deforestation, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia. It's home to many endemic, and endangered animals such as orangutans, pygmy elephants, and Sumatran rhinos – the increase of palm oil cultivation threatens the livelihood of all these animals.

There've been several events before where we had to face the fact that animals are getting affected by deforestation in those areas. Another tragic event has occurred recently. An injured Sumatran Orangutan was found with her malnourished baby at a palm oil plantation situated in the Subulussalam district of Aceh province situated on the island of Sumatra. The mother was discovered in a terrible condition – blinded, wounded and with many broken bones. When the rescuers discovered the mother orangutan and the child on March 10th, 2019, they rushed to a quarantine center. Sadly, the young child took its last breath on the way.

The veterinarians were shocked when they received the injured mother orangutan. They named it ‘Hope.’ When the X-Ray report came back, the veterinarians found out that Hope had approximately 74 air rifle pellets in her body. There were multiple pellets in both of her eyes which caused her blindness. Her collar bones and other bones in her body were also broken. Her right arm had wounds from several sharp objects, as IFLScience reports.

The Orangutan is currently undergoing multiple surgeries for her broken arm. The pellets are being removed from her body. As per a statement by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), Hope is in a poor state and is still recovering. She's lost her child when she was still breastfeeding, and that has had a significant mental effect on her. It's hard to tell whether Hope will be able to go back to the wild yet. She's currently under intensive care and slowly beginning to have fruits and milk.

The problem orangutans face in Indonesia isn't new. According to the orangutan conservation program, lots of people use air guns to kill or shoot orangutans or other animals to ward them off. The vets have treated more than 15 orangutans in the last ten years and extracted approximately 500 air gun pellets from their bodies. Even in 2018, an orangutan from the Indonesian part of Borneo was killed after being shot about 130 times with air guns.

As the IUCN Red List reports, only 13,500 Sumatran orangutans are present in the wild. A study by Cell Biology estimated that there'd been a drastic fall in the orangutan population since 1999. Habitat and human intervention are the primary reasons for that decline.

Now, it's high time that we start taking significant steps to conserve these endangered animals. While palm oil might be necessary, we can limit our demand for it. That's the least we can do for our animal friends.


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