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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

International Animal Rescue releases dramatic footage showing rescue of starving orangutans

International Animal Rescue’s team in Indonesia has today released dramatic footage showing how they rescued four starving orangutans from an oil palm concession in Borneo after their forest homes were bulldozed by a company belonging to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

IAR is now urging the company, Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA) to halt any further land clearing because it is believed that there are other orangutans trapped inside the concession that will die if they are not relocated.

Adi Irawan, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia, said: “We know there are more orangutans isolated in small patches of forest within this plantation along with other species of protected wildlife such as proboscis monkeys.

“All the animals in this plantation are under threat and therefore this company should stop all land clearing immediately, carry out habitat assessments and develop strategies to protect all the endangered wildlife in their estate.”

The concession is operated by BGA subsidiary PT Ladang Sawit Mas (LSM) in a forest buffer next to Gunung Palung National Park, an area that hosts one of the largest populations of Central Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) in West Kalimantan.

The footage shows the IAR team and members of the local forestry department (BKSDA) capturing the starving orangutans and translocating them to areas where there is sufficient food for their survival.

Karmele Llano Sanchez, Executive Director of IAR Indonesia, said: “We were appalled at the condition of these orangutans. All of them had gone through long periods of starvation before we rescued them, as the area where they were found, since the company had cleared most of the forest, was too small to provide them with sufficient food.

“One of the orangutans had lost her baby, probably killed before the rescue team arrived. More orangutans could die if this company does not take immediate action.”

The rescuers found evidence that the orangutans had been reduced to eating bark and stems because there was little fruit and few leaves available. As well as the lactating female whose baby could not be found, a pregnant female and a mother and baby were successfully tranlocated.

Alan Knight OBE, IAR Chief Executive said: “It is heartbreaking to see the state of these animals: they are weak from hunger and an increasingly desperate search for food. The only positive note is that, on this occasion, rather than chasing them away or killing them, the palm oil company did the right thing in contacting us so that we could move them to a place of safety.”

International Animal Rescue’s team in Indonesia has saved the lives of more than 60 orangutans. The majority are currently undergoing rehabilitation in IAR’s new centre in Sungai Awan, Ketapang, with a view to eventually being returned to protected areas of forest.

Watch the film here: