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