Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Large male orangutan rescued in Borneo

September 2013. An army of rescuers in Indonesia has successfully caught a magnificent male orangutan stranded on the outskirts of a village and moved him to safety in a protected forest far from human habitation.

Rice field creation
The Human-Orangutan Conflict (HOC) Team from UK-based charity International Animal Rescue had received reports of an orangutan sighting close to the village of Tempurkan in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The landscape surrounding the village consists of coconut trees but these are now being burned to clear the way for rice fields. This has increased the risk of conflicts between local people and orangutans, which are being isolated within the shrinking pockets of remaining forest.

Large male
After an initial visit to the village in which the orangutan could not be found, the team returned to the area early the following morning to find the community gathered at the edge of the tree line. Expecting to find a female orangutan or an infant, they were stunned to find a fully flanged, dominant male relaxing in his nest.

Evacuation plans were discussed with the officers of the Forestry Department (BKSDA) and village representatives and phone calls made to bring in a cage large enough to contain the huge animal. IAR's ‘Rapid Response' vet was brought in on the back of a scooter to supply the team with the tranquilliser gun and medication. After a long struggle trying to corner the male long enough to provide a clear shot, Argitoe Ranting, IAR's Field Manager, was able to tranquillise the male up in the tree canopy. A large net was placed below the branches as the team attempted to cut down the tree - a difficult process as the falling tree kept getting snagged in the surrounding vegetation. Eventually one of the team climbed the tree and dislodged the orangutan. Fortunately he was caught unharmed in the net.

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