An orangutan, now called Pelangsi, is lucky to be alive. The young male was close to death when a team from International Animal Rescue cut him loose from a snare that kept him a prisoner without food or water for 10 days. Pelangsi is the latest victim of the palm oil industry in Indonesia.
The IAR team, headed by veterinary director Karmele Llano Sanchez, sedated the orangutan, gave him fluids for severe hydration and carried him back to their clinic in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia.
He was in critical condition for the first 48 hours with an infection called septicemia, as a result of injuries to the animal’s right hand. The snare had caught hold of Pelangsi’s hand and he gnawed on it during the ordeal, trying to set himself free.
“Pelangsi’s story is a graphic illustration of the fate of countless orangutans that are left homeless and hungry when the forest is cut down. Our rescue centre is now caring for 50 orangutans and that number will continue to rise rapidly until drastic measures are taken by the palm oil companies to protect orangutans and other wildlife from the devastating effects of their industry,” said Sanchez.
Palm oil companies are cutting down the forest and destroying the habitat of the orangutan to make room for more crops to grow. The land where Pelangsi was trapped is home to a new palm oil plantation owned by PT KAL (Kayung Agro Lestari) from Austindo Nusantara Jaya Group, according to IAR.
The company is a member of the RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil), an association set up to promote the sustainable production and use of palm oil. IAR says, “…in spite of PT KAL’s apparent concern about the social and environmental impact of its industry, they are responsible for large numbers of orangutan deaths in the area.”
Alan Knight OBE, IAR’s Chief Executive says his team is working hard to save Pelangsi’s life. They hope he will soon be stable enough to undergo surgery on his injured and infected hand. The team expects that some of his arm will have to be amputated. Afterward the goal is to have him live out his days at the IAR rescue center.
Photo Credit: InternationalAnimal Rescue