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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

A baby orangutan in West Borneo is rescued from a cage the size of a cupboard.

Rescuers in West Borneo have freed a baby orangutan from a wooden cage the size of a cupboard. He had been kept in there for more than a year after being found on land cleared to make way for a palm oil plantation.

Our team travelled to Muara Baru village, in Sungai Raya District, Kubu Raya Regency with members of the BKSDA (Conservation of Natural Resources) and SPORC. 

(The Rapid Response Police Unit of the Environment and Forestry Protection and Law Enforcement Agency.)


The baby orangutan, named Muaro, is about 15 months old. His ‘owner’, Anwar, said he had come across him when an area of land was being cleared for a palm oil plantation. He claimed to have felt sorry for Muaro and so decided to bring him home. He built a wooden cage of 1.5m X 1.5m X 2m to keep him in and fed him on condensed milk and a diet of human food.

Although at first sight the baby didn’t seem to be in bad condition, a more thorough medical examination revealed that he was suffering from a skin disease and a respiratory problem. IAR vet Temia and animal keeper Zulkarnaen gave the baby orangutan immediate medical care, rehydration fluids and food before preparing him for his journey to our orangutan conservation centre in Ketapang, West Borneo.

The journey back to our centre involved a three hour drive from Muara Baru village to Pontianak and then a further 12 hours from Pontianak to Ketapang by ferry and then by road. The team broke the long journey by staying overnight at the BKSDA’s offices where they picked up a slow loris that had been handed over to the local forestry department by a university student.


On arrival at our centre, little Muaro was settled into the quarantine quarters that will be his home for several weeks while he undergoes a series of medical tests to assess his mental and physical condition and check that he is free from contagious diseases.

Alan Knight OBE, our CEO, said: “Muaro is yet another victim of the terrible impact of the palm oil industry. His mother was almost certainly killed for him to be all alone in the devastated forest.  Happily he is in safe hands now. Once he is out of quarantine, he will join more than 100 other orangutans undergoing rehabilitation at our centre and begin his long journey back to freedom.”

A recent report by a team of international conservationists has revealed that there has been a dramatic decline in the Bornean orangutan population and 150,000 of the primates have been lost in the last 16 years.

“Every individual counts in our efforts to save this Critically Endangered species from extinction,” Knight added. “The lives of Muaro and all the other rescued orangutans in our centre are so precious if orangutan populations are to be preserved for future generations.”