Orangutan in Need of Help is Moved to Safety, But His Species Is Still in Trouble

Just a week ago scientists raised the alarm over the future survival of orangutans in Borneo, but even though the outlook isn’t good, their advocates and rescuers aren’t giving up on them yet. This week, another orangutan in peril was successfully captured and relocated to a safe area before his situation turned dire.

Orangutans in Borneo continue to face a host of challenges that are putting them at risk of extinction in the wild. According to a newly published study, the population of Bornean orangutans has dropped by an alarming 25 percent over just the last 10 years.

Sadly, these amazing great apes continue to face a number of threats, including being hunted for bushmeat, having infants stolen for the pet trade, and losing their forest homes to palm oil and rubber plantations, agriculture, development, logging, mining and fires.

The decline in habitat has led to starvation for many, and has increased the risk of violent conflicts with humans as they move closer to us in search of food.

That was the case for an adult male who recently made his way to a community garden in West Kalimantan, where he was feeding on coconut trees.

Fortunately, residents reported him to people who could help. A team of rescuers stepped in to stop any further destruction, and move him to a safe location.

The team — including rescuers from International Animal Rescue (IAR), the Natural Resources Conservation Centre of West Kalimantan, Gunung Palung National Park, and a Conservation Task Force from a local palm oil company — named him Kukar.

According to IAR, the situation was getting serious and he was at risk of being attacked and injured by residents who were angry about the damage he was causing – he had destroyed more than 20 coconut trees.

They successfully located, tranquilized and examined Kukar, who was estimated to be about 17 years old.

30_06_2017_7Credit: International Animal Rescue

They found he was in good health, and prepared to move him to a release site in Gunung Palung National Park.

30_06_2017_16Credit: International Animal Rescue

IAR added that the location was chosen because there is still plenty of habitat and food there to support orangutans like him.

30_06_2017_25Credit: International Animal Rescue

When his transport cage’s door was opened, he immediately headed up a nearby tree.

With each life being incredibly valuable to this species, it’s hoped he’ll thrive in his new home, and that his story will help raise more awareness about their plight and how we can help mitigate the challenges they face.

“Pressure from the unsustainable plantation industry is putting increasing pressure on orangutan habitats. The wild orangutan population, particularly in Ketapang Regency, is declining because the forest is disappearing so rapidly. Forest fires in 2015 caused additional forest loss in the TNGP area. This leads to many conflicts between orangutans and humans, as is the case with Kukar. IAR operates a landscape-based conservation programme involving companies, governments and other stakeholders and local communities to seek a more balanced approach for people and the natural environment,” Karmele L Sanchez,  IAR Indonesia Program Director.

For more on how to help, check out International Animal Rescue and its Forest Fund campaign.

Photo credit: International Animal Rescue


Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Margie F
Margie FOURIE1 years ago

Thank goodness for the rescuers.

ANA MARIJA R1 years ago

The Future of the species is in our hands... IF only 1 mill Care2 members...

Ruth S
Ruth S1 years ago


Clare O
Clare O'Beara1 years ago

Glad this one could be helped, but it is a shame to see habitat loss.

Clare O
Clare O'Beara1 years ago

Tell your supermarket that you do not want palm oil spreads masquerading as butter. That is the root of this orang utan killing - palm oil.

Clare O
Clare O'Beara1 years ago

Don't buy any palm oil. Read all labels.

Jetana A
Jetana A1 years ago

A good rescue, but unfortunately the problem is worsening. There are too many humans, and way too much greed in this world.

Ruth C
Ruth C1 years ago

Poor animals... they just want to live in peace.

Leanne K
Leanne K1 years ago

Im so worried about so many species. We really are teetering on the brink.