Lifeless Baby Orangutan Saved From Cardboard Coffin Has Completely Transformed

A few years ago we heard about the heartbreaking and unforgettable story of a baby orangutan who had been left to die in the sun in a cardboard box. But now, thanks to his rescuers, he’s completely unrecognizable.

The baby, who was named Gito, had been kept as a pet in a village in Western Borneo. He was believed to be less than five months old when rescuers from International Animal Rescue (IAR) got to him.

The rescue team said at the time that he was so lifeless when they found him, they thought he was already dead: “He was lying corpse-like with his arms folded across his chest and this, along with a lack of hair and grey flaking skin, made him look almost mummified in his cardboard coffin.”

CIMG0916_previewCredit: International Animal Rescue

They rushed him to their rescue center, where they found he was dehydrated, feverish, suffering from diarrhea and sarcoptic mange. Fortunately, the intensive care he received turned things around.

DSC_6777_previewCredit: International Animal Rescue

Now, as his rescuers celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their life-saving work with primates in Indonesia, they’re also celebrating the amazing progress Gito has made over the past two years.

Update_Giet_20180119_RUD_20_previewCredit: International Animal Rescue

According to IAR he has transformed into a “healthy, happy young orangutan who loves his food and polishes off two bottles of milk, a bowl of vegetables, porridge and fruit, all in one sitting!”

He’s now in baby school at IAR’s orangutan center where he’s making friends and learning all the skills he’ll need for his eventual return to the wild.

Update_Giet_20180119_RUD_08_previewCredit: International Animal Rescue

“Usually he takes his friends with him,” says Heribertus Nugraha from IAR Indonesia, “but he’s also happy to play on his own. He’s still only young but he is learning fast. Currently on his list is to learn how to forage for food and then after that will be how to make a nest for the night.”

As IAR explained, orangutans in the wild typically stay with their mothers until they are six or seven years old, so it will be will be a while before Gito returns to his home in the jungle. After he graduates baby school, he and the others in IAR’s care will move on to forest school before eventually being moved to a pre-release site where they can be monitored.

Update_Giet_20180119_RUD_10_previewCredit: International Animal Rescue

While Gito’s start to life was unquestionably filled with tragedy and suffering, he will now at least get the chance to live a full life in the wild.

“It’s ten years since we started helping primates in Indonesia and what better way to mark the anniversary than by celebrating a success story like Gito’s. It is a tragic fact that Gito and all the other infant orangutans in our care were almost certainly orphaned when their mothers were killed and their babies were caught and kept as pets. However, happily these young apes are receiving expert care in our rehabilitation centre and will eventually have the chance to return to their home in the wild,” said Alan Knight OBE, IAR’s Chief Executive.

Hopefully Gito’s story will help raise awareness about the plight of orangutans, and the work being done to help them. For Bornean orangutans, who are now Critically Endangered, every life is incredibly precious.

For more on how to help these amazing animals, check out International Animal Rescue.

Photo credit: International Animal Rescue


Shirley P
Shirley Plowman13 days ago

These animals are gifts to us all, they are special.

Peggy Peters
Peggy Peters21 days ago

I love animal stories with a happy ending!

Angela J
Angela J21 days ago


KimJ M
KimJ M23 days ago


KimJ M
KimJ M24 days ago

Huge thanks to the wonderful people that saved Gito :)

KimJ M
KimJ M24 days ago

Huge thanks to the wonderful people that saved Gito :)

Elaine W
Elaine W29 days ago

The "first found" picture brought tears to my eyes. So glad he is healthy and happy now.

Ramesh B
Ramesh B29 days ago


Marija M
Marija Mabout a month ago

So glad for Gito. Tks.

Kathleen England
Kathleen Eabout a month ago

What a lovely little chap. IAR performed a small miracle. Big thanks to them. At some point Borneo has got to start helping the orangutans- before it's too late!