November 22, 2016
An isolated young female Sumatran orangutan was rescued by a team from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and the Aceh Conservation Agency (BKSDA Aceh) of Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, from a tiny fragment of forest surrounded by a palm oil plantation in the Tripa peat swamps, part of the world renowned Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
The orangutan first had to be captured from the tree tops by the team, which included SOCP veterinarian drh Pandu Wibisono and SOCP Operations Manager Asril, using an anaesthetic dart fired from a specially designed rifle. After being successfully rescued, newly named Zaskia was found to be around 7 years old and weighing only around 20kg, a clear sign of her malnutrition due to having almost no natural food available.
As Asril commented, “Normally we don’t want to capture wild orangutans but in exceptional circumstances we feel we have no choice. In cases where we know the animal is going to die or be killed if we don’t get them, then of course we do our best to get them out of there and move them to somewhere safe.”
Zaskia was then taken to the SOCP’s orangutan reintroduction center in Jantho, Aceh Besar, in a protected Nature Reserve with abundant natural food in the forest, where she will join over 90 other orangutans already released there.
Dr. Ian Singleton, Director of the SOCP commented, “Capturing free living wild orangutans goes against the logic of the conservation goals we are trying to achieve, to keep as many wild orangutans living free in their natural habitat as we possibly can. But in cases like Zaskia’s, where we know she will be killed we really have no choice but to try and help them. She is now joining the new population, she will probably live a long life in the wild there and hopefully she will produce several infants during her lifetime, making a major contribution to the new population being established in Jantho. Continue reading »
posted by: Tom