Orangutan Mother, Baby Attacked While Fleeing Borneo Fire
Rampant wildfires in Indonesia are destroying many of the world's few remaining natural habitats for endangered orangutans.
Rampant wildfires in Indonesia are destroying many of the world's few remaining natural habitats for endangered orangutans. Over the past several months, man-made fires have destroyed an area the size of New Jersey, leaving in their wake a plume of toxic smoke that stretches across southeastern Asia.
For Bornean orangutan Anti and her young child, Gito, however, escaping the smoldering forest was only half of the battle.
As their home in a rubber tree plantation burned to the ground around them, Anti and Gito managed to escape the embers and seek refuge in a nearby village. Frightened by the presence of the two traumatized creatures, a crowd of local villagers threw stones at the orangutans and attempted to tie Anti up with rope.
In the midst of the chaos, a concerned villager tipped off conservation organization International Animal Rescue, which quickly sent representatives onto the scene to rescue the two primates.
After escaping the fire and suffering further at the hands of mankind, Anti was malnourished and extremely thin; she also sustained minor skin wounds from the rope tied around her wrist. The rescue team anesthetized both of the animals so that they could be safely transported to a protected area of forest for monitoring:
IAR notes in a Facebook post that both mother and child are "recovering well from their terrible ordeal."
Over the last three months, the organization has rescued more than a dozen orangutans, several of whom were found to have burns on their feet.
"This is a global environmental crisis and it is already considered by experts as the worst man-made ecological disaster of the century which will affect the lives of people the world over," Karmele Llano Sanchez, Program Director for IAR Indonesia, explains in a statement.
"I fear that in terms of the orangutans, the worst is yet to come. And if serious action isn't taken soon to stop the fires, it will simply be too late."
Article first appeared on Discovery's blog Discovrd.
Rescuers work to save the life of a mother orangutan and her tiny baby, who were forced out of their forest home as a result of raging wildfires and ended up under attack in a village.
On January 7, this shaggy little bundle of joy was delivered by Caesarean section at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. Her mom is a 27-year-old Sumatran orangutan named Mariska, from the
in Saint Paul, Minn. We thought you'd enjoy having the baby girl brought to your attention.
It was mother Mariska's second required C-section, both of which were performed at the university's medical center. "C-sections are very rare in that there are only about a dozen recorded within the International Orangutan Studbook that has tracked more than 1,200 births in captivity throughout history," said Como Zoo's primate keeper Megan Elder.
The new arrival weighed in at a spry 3.45 pounds.
She and her mom certainly drew a crowd. The obstetrical team boasted more than a dozen professionals -- from the disciplines of human and animal neonatal intensive care, human maternal-fetal medicine, veterinary surgery, veterinary anesthesiology, and nutrition.
The newborn should be proud. Her mother Mariska is considered one of the most genetically valuable female Sumatran orangutans in North America and was recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Orangutan Species Survival Plan.
The little girl of the hour was bottle fed by Como Zoo staff while her mom was recovering from the surgery. She and Mariska would soon be reunited at Como Zoo.
About 200 orangutans are currently on exhibit in zoos throughout the U.S., Como Zoo notes. In the wild, they're found primarily in Sumatra and Borneo. Orangutan populations have tumbled downward and the species is under the threat of extinction. Commercial logging, agriculture, hunting and poaching all have contributed to the animal's decline. So it's always happy news when a baby gives a small ray of hope to a species in trouble.