IAR rescues baby orangutan dumped in a cardboard box and left to die
We have received heartbreaking footage from our team in Indonesia of a baby orangutan that was dumped in a filthy cardboard box and left in a backyard in the sun to die.
The baby, who has been named Gito by our team, was so lifeless when we reached him that at first we thought he was dead. He was lying corpse-like with his arms folded across his chest and this, along with a lack of hair and grey flaking skin, made him look almost mummified in his cardboard coffin.
Even the most hardened members of the team were shocked by the state the little orangutan was in. He was being kept as a pet by the head of the village of Merawa in West Borneo, about 170km from our orangutan rehabilitation centre in Ketapang. Gito had been bought for less than £20 from a man who had almost certainly killed his mother in order to steal and sell her baby. He was kept in a cardboard box sodden with urine and fed entirely on condensed milk. He was severely dehydrated and malnourished.
Gito was in such urgent need of medical attention that the local Forestry Department (BKSDA) allowed the rescue team to rush him to the clinic without waiting for a BKSDA official to accompany them. They set off at sunrise by motorbike and arrived to find the medical team at the centre waiting for the arrival of the sick baby. It was a relief to everyone that Gito had survived the arduous nine hour journey.
Gito was put on a drip to rehydrate him and given a thorough medical check up. Tests revealed that he was suffering from sarcoptic mange, a highly contagious skin disease that causes intense itching and irritation. Treatment was begun immediately to relieve the condition and the medical team is shown in the video below massaging coconut oil into his skin to soothe and soften it.
Alan Knight, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, said: “It’s hard to stomach the shocking state Gito was in when we rescued him. Our team has seen a significant increase in the number of baby orangutans being kept as pets and some of them have only recently been taken from the wild. This is the result of the forest fires devastating Indonesia and leaving wild orangutans without food or shelter. Those that escape being burnt alive are left exposed and vulnerable, under threat of starving to death or being killed or captured by human beings.
“Gito is in safe hands now and receiving expert treatment and care at our centre in Ketapang. But tragically there are many more like him in desperate need of our help. Forest fires in Ketapang Regency have resulted in an increase in the number of baby orangutans being captured. These helpless animals can and will be rescued – but we urgently need more funding for our work. The public responded magnificently earlier this year when we rescued Budi the baby orangutan and I’m praying for the same generous response once again when people see the sorry state of little Gito and read his story.”