Burnt orangutan rescued and in the care of IAR's team in West Kalimantan
IAR's team in West Borneo has rescued and is caring for an orangutan that was burnt after local villagers tried to chase it out of a tree by setting it on fire. News of the story of this orangutan spread all the way to the President. The police, forestry department and a great many other people became involved, as a result of a video broadcast on Metrotv news which showed the orangutan's hair catching fire as he clung to the burning tree.
The large male orangutan entered the farmland and plantations of some villagers in Wajok Hilir, near Pontianak. They did not want to harm him but were at a loss to know what to do to frighten him away. They thought that by setting fire to the tree they could scare him away but tragically the orangutan had no means of escape and himself caught fire.
The villagers called the BKSDA (forestry department) who called International Animal Rescue. The team immediately jumped into action.
When they eventually managed to dart and sedate the orangutan, he was found to be in a fairly critical condition and severely dehydrated, although luckily the burn wounds were only first degree and all superficial.
The condition of the orangutan is being monitored round the clock by IAR vet Dr Siffa. He is currently still in Pontianak and being kept in a transport cage. His condition will be evaluated over the next two days to decide whether he needs to be moved to IAR's orangutan rescue clinic in Ketapang or whether he is deemed fit enough to be relocated and released straight back into the wild.
Karmele Llano Sanchez, Executive and Veterinary Director of International Animal Rescue Indonesia, said: "Although much blame is being attached to the villagers for their misguided actions, yet again, the real culprit in this story is the palm oil industry which is destroying the forest and leaving no food or shelter for orangutans and other wildlife – and creating conflict as people and animals compete for food.