A female orangutan of a rare breed is fighting for her life after she was shot 74 times by poachers while trying to protect her infant baby. Rescuers and veterinarians from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) have been tending to the orangutan's wounds, but unfortunately, the orangutan’s baby died after the rescue operation in Indonesia.
Hope is a victim of the growing conflict between people and orangutans
The volunteers and veterinarians that took care of the orangutan named it “Hope” after villagers found her. Her encounter with the malicious hunters left her badly injured and unable to feed her infant baby. Unfortunately, the baby later died of malnutrition. One of the vets named Yenny Saraswati stated that X-ray results revealed Hope had two pellets in her right eye and four pellets in her left eye. As a result, Hope is now blind.
The orangutan also had several open wounds which were inflicted using sharp objects. The vet reported that Hope underwent a collarbone surgery, which she has since recovered well from. Orangutans have become endangered in Indonesia due to the growing conflict between them and the local population as palm oil plantations encroach on their natural habitats. Sapto Aji Prabowo, the head of the Aceh provincial conservation agency, revealed that Hope was found in critical conditions by villagers.
Operation ‘save the orangutans’
SOCP has been on a mission to save as many orangutans as it can, especially because they are currently endangered. So far it has rescued more than 10 of them from Aceh and North Sumatra between January and March of this year. Most of the orangutans were rescued from individuals who caught them in plantations. Hope is lucky to be among the few orangutans that have so far been rescued. Others such as her baby did not survive.
Singapore customs authorities recently arrested a Russian tourist named Andrei Zhestkov as he tried to smuggle an orangutan out of Bali in a suitcase. Zhestkov told the authorities that he gave the monkey milk laced with allergy pills that knocked out the animal for up to three hours. He also conveyed that he had acquired the orangutan at a mainland Indonesian market for £2,200 ($3,000) because he wanted to keep the animal as a pet. He kept the orangutan in a comfortable rattan basket and then hid it in a suitcase to avoid detection.