Veterinarian Ian Singleton ponders the condition of a critically wounded male Orangutan, which died after an hour receiving emergency treatment.

Sumatran Orangutans threatened by forest destruction
By Sutanta Aditya, 3rd November 2015;

A series of deaths of Orangutans further confirms the destruction of Indonesia’s forests, contributing to the problem of global climate change.

The country’s biodiversity, including protected species such as Sumatran Orangutans, Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) and Sumatran Rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), is currently under grave threat as a result of habitat devastation.

Amid wildfires and the ongoing haze crisis, coupled with unplanned population distribution for economic reasons, Sumatra’s forests are rapidly disappearing, with profit-seekers benefiting from conflict between humans and wild animals.

A recent medical examination by a veterinarian team from the Medan-based Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) found an adult Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) in critical condition. Despite hours of treatment, the ape was declared dead from stab wounds and 23 bullets lodged in its body.

A spokesman for the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) in Medan, Evansus R. Manalu, confirmed the incident. “Our field officers received a report from residents on Oct. 21 about a severely wounded Orangutan. Mount Leuser National Park [TNGL] and the Orangutan Information Center [OIC] referred the case to the SOCP in Sibolangit,” said Evansus.

"In the Bukit Lawang tourist area between Langkat regency and TNGL, an Orangutan was found in a critical state by TNGL and OIC personnel,” said OIC director Panut Hadisiswoyo, adding that the ape had been killed as a result of conflict with humans, an increasingly frequent occurrence.

Intense Human-Orangutan conflict recorded around Mount Leuser is, besides deforestation, the area’s most urgent issue, prompting the OIC to step up its precautionary efforts. “We deplore the recurrent killing of Sumatran Orangutans, because the location is a tourist spot, and the dead Orangutan indicated traces of the use of sharp weapons and guns,” he added.

Based on SOCP X-ray results, some of the bullets had entered the Orangutan’s right eye, while its left shoulder was badly wounded by sharp blades. “We did all we could, but sadly the Orangutan died an hour after receiving first aid,” said SOCP veterinarian Yenny Saraswati via social media.

If Sumatran Orangutans continue to be killed and the species becomes extinct, the Leuser protected forest will lose a link in its ecosystem chain. As noted by the SOCP, Kalimantan (Bornean) Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) belong to the Endangered category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), while Sumatran Orangutans are categorized as Critically Endangered, with only 6,600 left in the wild on the North Sumatra-Aceh border, according to SOCP director Ian Singleton.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Wanted: Primate Slaughterer!
23rd June 2015;

Protection of Forest & Fauna (PROFAUNA) Indonesia on 22 June 2015 received lots of reports from the public, concerning some gruesome pictures of primate killing assumed to be an Orangutan (Pongo) sp.) posted on Facebook. The poor primate assumed to be an Orangutan was killed, burned, and eaten. The pictures were posted by a Facebook account named Polo Panitia Hari Kiamat.

Orangutan is a protected species, and according to the Law no.5 of 1990 concerning the Conservation of Living Natural Resources and Its Ecosystem, anybody who kills an orangutan is liable to 5 years of prison or IDR 100 million fines.

“The slaughterer of this Orangutan has violated two laws, the Law no.5 of 1990 and also Law no.11 of 2008 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions,” stated PROFAUNA’s campaign officer, Swasti Prawidya Mukti.

PROFAUNA is investigating the reports and has filed the case to the law enforcement authority. If you know the person(s) who holds this account, who is assumed to be involved in the Orangutan slaughter, please inform PROFAUNA by email at: profauna@profauna.net, SMS center at +6281336657164, +6281615711592, or phone at +628563693611.

Source: ProFauna

Top: Decomposing carcass of an adult Orangutan in the forest of Southwest Aceh.
Bottom: Elephant bones found with a noose near Gunung Leuser National Park. This Elephant’s ivory is missing.
Photos by Leuser Conservation Forum

Indonesia: Poachers target Elephants, Tigers in Sumatran park
By Loren Bell, 31st July 2014;

The Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh, Indonesia is gaining the attention of international animal traffickers, according to the Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL). From the beginning of 2013, FKL patrols have dismantled 282 makeshift traps targeting high value threatened species, and the situation is getting worse.

“This is a crisis for Leuser,” said Dediansyah, Director of FKL, “We have found many wild animal traps in the forest installed by hunters. Their major targets are Sumatran Tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) and Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus).”

The snares are typically constructed from simple materials of varying size and design depending on the animal. In 2013, FKL patrols dismantled 127 such devices: 43 set for Tigers, 32 for birds, 20 for deer, 19 for Elephants, and 13 for Sumatran Rhinoceroses (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). In the first six months of 2014, patrols found 160, suggesting an marked increase in hunting activity.

In addition, FKL patrols have found several Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) and Elephant carcasses, which investigators believe were the victims of hunting.

On the south end of Gunung Leuser National Park, FKL investigated four separate Elephant carcasses found with their tusks removed. The team discovered large steel cable snares, pit traps, and poison in the surrounding areas. Near one Elephant, a large number of bent and broken trees indicate that the animal was caught by its leg, and thrashed about trying to escape until it presumably died from exhaustion.

“[The hunters] seem to know where the Elephants migrate,” said Dedi, “and install traps along that route and wait for the Elephant to stumble across them.”

According to Dedi, more hunters are coming from outside the region, working in cooperation with wildlife traffickers. In addition to regular hunting for meat and the pet trade, an increased demand for body parts on the international Chinese medicine market has put pressure on Leuser. Unlike most other forests in Indonesia, Leuser’s wild animal population is still relatively intact and abundant.

In addition to tigers and elephants, other commonly hunted animals include Hornbills (F. Bucerotidae), Deer (F. Cervidae), and Orangutan, while songbirds are regularly trapped for sale in the pet markets.

During the last year, Porcupine (F. Hystricidae) hunting in particular has seen a sharp increase, with the price for a single animal reaching Rp 300,000 ($26). It is believed that bezoar stones (masses of undigested organic and inorganic material) found inside the digestive tracts of some of these animals have medicinal or magical powers. Reportedly, stones sell in the city of Medan in Indonesia for Rp 5-10 million ($430 – $860) apiece.

Currently, FKL has only eight patrol teams working in cooperation with the Forestry Department to monitor only four of the 13 regencies that comprise the 2.6 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem.

Source: Mongabay