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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

After rescuing him from a snare, IAR's team performs life-saving surgery on Pelangsi the orangutan

The IAR Indonesia veterinary team was led by Dr Adi Irawan, under the guidance of Dr. Paolo Martelli, Chief Veterinarian Ocean Park Hong Kong

Pelangsi, the orangutan rescued from a snare by IAR’s team in Indonesia, is recovering after a five-hour operation to remove his withered hand and arm.  The young male orangutan is making good progress: he is alert and eating well.

Karmele Llano Sanchez, Veterinary Director of IAR Indonesia, said: “The operation went smoothly and we were able to amputate the arm below the elbow joint. However we still don’t know how the arm will react to the surgery: if there are any signs of infection, we may have to remove more of it, but for now we are keeping the wound clean and dry and keeping the limb under close observation using an xray machine.

“Pelangsi is a young male orangutan who was clearly perfectly fit and healthy before he got trapped in the snare. While it is a tragedy that he has lost a limb, far better that than to lose his life through septicaemia. There is no reason why he shouldn’t eventually return to the wild and fend for himself once more.  As a wild orangutan, he is finding it quite stressful to be in captivity and tries to hide under the foliage in his cage whenever we approach him with the darts and blowpipe to sedate him. We are keeping disturbance to a minimum but obviously we need to keep a close eye on him until we know his arm is healing properly and he is completely in the clear.”


Pelangsi tries to hide under the foliage in his cage whenever the vets approach him

Pelangsi tries to hide under the foliage in his cage whenever the vets approach him

It is anticipated that, if all goes according to plan and there are no complications, Pelangsi will need two months to recover from the surgery.  


Alan Knight OBE, IAR’s Chief Executive, said: “Pelangsi’s story is a graphic illustration of the plight of so many orangutans in Borneo. He was driven from the forest when it was destroyed to make way for a palm oil plantation and forced into an area where wildlife and human beings are competing for space and for food.  Pelangsi spent ten days caught in a snare before IAR’s team reached him and cut him free. Their help came too late to save his damaged hand but they have saved his life.”

There are now 51 orangutans at IAR’s emergency centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan which have been rescued or confiscated with assistance from the BKSDA – the local forestry department.


Pelangsi is recovering well from his surgery

Pelangsi is recovering well from his surgery

Members of the team have now started working with local group Yayasan Palung to identify potential release sites for Pelangsi so that eventually he can be released into a safe area of forest which is free from snares and other man-made threats.


IAR’s team in Indonesia aims to carry out educational work in the area where the orangutan was found to raise awareness among local villagers of the terrible suffering caused by snares. They plan to include Pelangsi’s story in an application for funding for the education project to illustrate the threat snares pose to all kinds of animals.