Breaking! Young Orangutan Rescued From Forest Fires In Borneo; Marks 3rd Saved By International Animal Rescue In Less Than 2 Weeks

Photos from International Animal Rescue

After miraculously freeing himself from a deadly snare, a young male orangutan has been rescued after being caught in forest fires sweeping across Indonesia.

As leaders meet to discuss the climate crisis at the United Nations Summit in New York this week, a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) in West Borneo, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Centre (BKSDA), has been called out to urgently rescue yet another orangutan left stranded and starving as a result of forest and land fires.

“Forest fires in Kalimantan are clear proof of the climate crisis and mass extinctions currently occurring throughout the world. As rainforests burn, orangutans, and the millions of species of animals and plants that share their habitat, are at serious risk. In addition, the effects of the fires in Borneo and Sumatra not only impact Indonesia, but the whole world,” Karmele Sanchez, Director of IAR Indonesia said in a statement emailed to WAN. “The burning of peatlands is increasing greenhouse emissions and thus contributing to global warming. We are in a crisis and we all depend on countries around the world to take a stand to find a solution.”

The orangutan most recently rescued had wandered into a rubber plantation in a desperate search for food, after being forced out of his forest home by deadly fires that have been burning for the past two months. The young male is believed to be just seven years old, suffering not just from a lack of food and water, but also from a deep infected wound on his leg caused by a snare.

Once safely anesthetised, initial medical assessments confirmed the orangutan to be in poor physical condition and in need of urgent medical attention. He was rushed to IAR’s orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre in Ketapang, West Borneo, where he will receive the expert care needed to restore him to health so that he can be returned to the freedom and safety of a protected national park.

As previously reported by WAN, two adult orangutans were found stranded and rescued just one week ago; all serve as a stark warning that more rescues are imminent given the rampant fires throughout Indonesia.

“We have only just rescued two orangutans from a burnt field last Monday. This sudden surge in rescues is reminiscent of the major fires of 2015, which resulted in the rescue of more than 40 orangutans,” Tantyo Bangun, Chair of IAR Indonesia stated. “It is high time we solve the problem of forest fires which not only harm humans, but also contributes to the destruction of nature and biodiversity. If fire-related problems are not resolved immediately, orangutans will soon become extinct.”

Forest and land fires in Indonesia have reached a critical point. As precious rainforests continues to burn, orangutans are left stranded, with no home, no food and no shelter. If these displaced orangutans are not rescued, they are at risk of starving to death or finding themselves in conflict with humans after wandering into community gardens in a desperate search for food.

The organization noted that it is continuing to work with the BKSDA and Gunung Palung National Park (TANAGUPA) to try to find solutions to the many threats that orangutans face, habitat destruction, poaching, and now fires.

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