Our centre in Ketapang takes in more baby orangutans as the forest fires continue.
In recent weeks International Animal Rescue’s team in Ketapang has come to the aid of a number of baby orangutans that have fallen victim to the fires destroying vast areas of Indonesian rainforest. Ketapang Regency is the worst affected area of West Kalimantan and suffered a total of 63 fires during the month of September alone. As a result our team has recorded a noticeable increase in the number of babies found in the homes of local people in recent weeks.
One such baby was rescued from burning land by local people in Seponti Jaya subdistrict, North Kayong Regency, West Kalimantan.
"The baby is a female orangutan,” said Sustyo Iriyono, Head of the Natural Resources Conservation Centre (BKSDA) in West Kalimantan. Her name is Seponti, after the place where she was found.”
eponti was handed over to the BKSDA by staff from the Park Mountain Trench Section Sukadana. Before that she had been kept for eleven days by local residents. She is estimated to be between one and one and a half years old.
The local villagers who found her said Seponti was dehydrated and weak from the effects of the smoke. There was no sign of her mother. After subsequently deciding to hand the little orangutan over they made a journey of three hours on foot to Sukadana to surrender her.
Once she was handed over to the BKSDA at their Gunung Palung National Park office, Seponti was given a medical check up by one of IAR’s vets before being transported to our rehabilitation centre. It was noted by the team that she was having difficulty eating and drinking and would need further tests and treatment when she reached the centre.
An even younger male orangutan was subsequently rescued from the village of Limpang, Hamlet Nifu Jelutus, District Barley Hulu in Ketapang. The baby was eight or nine months old.
He was named Limpang - again after the place where he was found - a remote area about six hours’ drive away from the IAR centre. The baby was discovered by villagers who heard a sound like a cry on the edge of the forest next to the river. They said they found the orangutan all alone, again with no sign of the mother. Limpang was kept by the villagers for a month before the head of the village persuaded them to hand him over to the BKSDA.
A rescue team consisting of veterinarian Ayu, Iskandar Fauzi, an intern student from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Bogor Agricultural University and one Ketapang region BKSDA officer, went to Barley Hulu to collect Limpang. He was brought swiftly and safely to our centre and is now undergoing a period in quarantine before being introduced to the other babies.
A third baby orangutan was picked up by our team from the BKSDA office in Pontianak. He is between seven and ten months old. The baby had been found by palm oil plantation workers while he was drinking at an artificial canal near a plantation in Kubu Raya. He was very thin and so the workers fed him and tried to leave him but the little orangutan followed them and they let him stay in their hut for several days. Then one of the workers, took him home and his wife took care of the baby which they called Otan. However, they both knew that keeping an orangutan is prohibited. They reported it to the BKSDA who responded promptly, picking the orangutan up from the couple and taking him to their office in Pontianak. The next day IAR’s rescue team fetched Otan from the BKSDA office and he is now safely in baby quarantine in the IAR centre in Ketapang.
He was found to be malnourished and suffering from a respiratory infection doubtless caused by the smoke from the forest fires close to where he was found.
“Credit must be given to the local couple who surrendered the orangutan,” said Sustyo Iryono. “They were right to hand it over voluntarily to the State and it is now safely in the care of the International Animal Rescue Orangutan Centre in Ketapang. We hope one day it can be returned to the forest.”