Help Us Set Japik Free
Japik the orangutan spent two long years chained to a tree with nothing but a narrow wooden plank to sit on and no shelter from the hot sun or driving rain. When our team arrived to rescue her all they could see on the plank was a pile of old rags. Or so they thought...
In fact that “pile of old rags” was Japik trying to shelter from the torrential rain under an old jacket. This is how Heribertus, a member of the rescue team, described her:
“Japik was placed beside a tree behind the house, without shelter or a roof to protect her from sun or rain. When we arrived it was raining heavily and she was trying to take cover under an old jacket. We could see that the jacket was soaked through and Japik was cold and shivering. Her neck was also chained and the chain was nailed to the tree. The chain was very short so Japik could go nowhere. The ground under the plank where she was sitting was covered in rubbish.”
Japik was constantly shifting her weight from side to side, perhaps to keep her balance on the slippery plank or to ease the pain of her aching limbs. After two years on the end of that short chain it’s a miracle she could move at all.
Japik’s owner finally realised that it was illegal to keep an orangutan as a pet and decided to surrender her into our care. The minute we knew of her existence, our team set off to rescue her and bring her misery to an end.
As our vet Cha Cha approached Japik, the desperate orangutan reached out to her. It was as though she realised that after suffering so much misery and neglect, help was finally at hand.
Our team immediately took action to free Japik from the tree and remove the chain from her neck. It was so heavy and had been fixed so tightly that there was a deep wound under her chin – had she been left there much longer it would have cut right through her skin.
I can’t begin to imagine how Japik endured those years alone on that narrow plank of wood, cast aside and forgotten like the rubbish on the ground around her. Japik is only four or five years old and should still be living with her mother. She must have been so lonely chained up alone without her.
When Argitoe, the head of our rescue team, took her hand to guide her to the transport crate, her legs were so weak that they shook as she walked.
Now that Japik is in the safe hands of our veterinary team at the centre in Ketapang, West Borneo her recovery and rehabilitation can begin. But after two years living on scraps of waste food, deprived of all the nutrition that is vital to the physical development of a young orangutan, it hasn’t yet been determined whether any permanent damage has been done to her health. But our expert team will be doing all they can in the months and years ahead to help Japik develop the strength and the skills she will need to survive in the wild. Please contribute to her care today and help us set her free.
Our immediate priority is to check her for any ailments or diseases while she is in quarantine and work to improve her overall health and wellbeing. Having lived for so long in such shocking conditions, we're amazed that she’s even alive. Let’s hope this means she has a strong constitution and an equally strong will to survive.