Monday, 16 March 2015

British tree surgeons to teach Sumatran orangutan rescuers how to climb trees

Scientists estimate that 1,000 orangutans are poached every year, despite being a protected species

5:24PM GMT 15 Mar 2015

British tree surgeons are to be sent to Sumatra to teach local orangutan rescuers tree-climbing skills.

The apes are endangered and need help as they get stuck in limited forest where surrounding trees are felled for logging or growing palm oil plantations.

Scientists also say that while they are a protected species, around 1,000 orangutans are poached every year for the pet trade or to be eaten.

The British team will travel to Medan in the north of the Indonesian island next month to work with the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit, which was set up in 2010.

Rescuers can spend days tracking the apes from the ground and have to wait until vets can safely fire an anaesthetic dart at them.

They then catch the orangutans in giant nets as they fall from the trees.

Geoff Pugsley, 29 from Basingstoke in Hampshire, will be among the five-strong team from the UK to travel to Sumatra.

“We'll be teaching them techniques that we use to work on trees every day. They're tried and tested methods, but they're simple,” Mr Pugsley said.

"It will make it less traumatic and there will be less risk of injury."

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