This undated picture taken late on February 2016 and released by Centre of Orangutan Protection on March 3, 2016, shows the body of an Orangutan after a forest fire at Kutai National Park in Bontang, East Kalimantan province.

Indonesia: Three Orangutans, including a baby, burnt to death in Borneo forest fire
3rd March 2016;

Three female Orangutans, including a baby, were burnt to death in Borneo after being caught in a fire believed to have been started illegally to clear land for farming, an official and protection group said on Thursday (March 3).

The charred bodies of the endangered Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), believed to be a mother and her two daughters, were discovered among fire-blackened remains of trees, their limbs outstretched and grimaces of pain on their faces.

They were found in Bontang, in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, close to Kutai National Park. Park officials began investigating after seeing pictures of the animals circulating on social media, said park staff member Dede Hidayat.

“We went to the scene about one kilometre (half a mile) outside the national park and we found the Orangutans lying on the ground, badly burnt,” she told AFP.

Wildlife authorities and police are now investigating the case. No one has been arrested yet, but if convicted, a perpetrator could face up to five years in jail for breaking wildlife protection laws.

Environmental group the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP), which is helping authorities investigate the case, believe the fire was illegally started by a farmer to clear a small area of land for cultivation.

Slash-and-burn forest clearance, mostly to make way for palm oil plantations, is common across Indonesia and environmentalists say it has contributed to the destruction of many endangered species’ natural habitats.

It was also blamed for causing huge forest fires that cloaked Southeast Asia in acrid smog last year. Many Orangutans had to be rescued from the blazes.

COP, which runs an Orangutan rescue centre in Borneo, carried out an autopsy on the apes after they were discovered last month. The group found they were all female, and aged around 20, 10, and less than one year, said COP founder Hardi Baktiantoro.

Protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Bornean Orangutan as endangered.

Besides destruction of their habitats for agriculture, the primates face other threats. They are sometimes targeted by villagers who view them as pests, and caught by poachers who want to sell them as pets.

Source: AFP, on Coconuts Jakarta

Autopsy results for the 3 Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) bodies that were burned in a land fire in Bontang, East Kalimantan on 23rd Feb 2016. These bodies are in a rotting condition.

“The deaths of these Orangutans are classified burning condition 3 where the burned area covers 90%, causing loss of body fluids, electrolyte and even protein, causing severe dehydration and organ dysfunctions,” explained Dr. Imam Arifin, vet for Centre for Orangutan Protection.

Source: Centre for Orangutan Protection Facebook

Today, The Ministry of Forestry, Police and COP start the autopsy to find out the cause of death for 3 Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) at the burned out area, not far from Kutai National Parks and Bontang Protected Forest. The Orangutan corpses are taken and bought to the office of Bontang Police. COP’s vet team will conduct the autopsy. Stay tuned for updates.

Source: Centre for Orangutan Protection Facebook

BLACK SUNDAY

We are sorry to inform you that we have just received a report from a local: an Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) mother with her baby as well as a third Orangutan have been burnt in East Kalimantan. Our APE Crusader Team and the Wildlife Authority are investigating this case now. Stay tuned for the updates from the field.

Source: Centre for Orangutan Protection Facebook

Updates on BLACK SUNDAY‬ case

There were 3 Orangutans being killed during fires yesterday. It is a forested area that neighbouring with sand mining. Wildlife Authority and Police with support from COP are doing legal investigation. We have suspects already and police manage to arrest them. Meanwhile, COP’S vet will do an autopsy.

Source: Centre for Orangutan Protection Facebook