Wednesday 28 September 2016

Villagers attack orangutan mother and baby trying to escape raging forest fires

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 11/11/2015 | 14:02

The mother orangutan was very malnourished when found
Credit: International Animal Rescue
The mother orangutan was very malnourished when found Credit: International Animal Rescue

A Borneo orangutan and her baby managed to escape blazing forest fires only to be tied up and stoned by locals.

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The distressed mother and her youngster were found clinging tightly to each another as angry villagers threw rocks at the pair and attempted to tie them up.

The two animals were saved by charity International Animal Rescue, who gave the mother an anesthetic and removed rope from her wrists.

Increasing numbers of orangutans have been making their way to nearby villages to find food, but locals class them as unwanted pests.

The mother orangutan was very malnourished when found
Credit: International Animal Rescue
The mother orangutan was very malnourished when found Credit: International Animal Rescue

"It was very fortunate our rescue team got there in time, otherwise the orangutans would have been killed," Karmele Llano Sanchez, of International Animal Rescue, told AFP.

"The mother was quite skinny because she had not been eating for at least a month since the fires started."

International Animal Rescue saved the pair from death by stoning
Credit: International Animal Rescue
International Animal Rescue saved the pair from death by stoning Credit: International Animal Rescue

Illegal forest and agricultural fires have raged across Borneo and Indonesia for the past few months

They were deliberately started in order to to cheaply clear land for plantations.

The animals were taken away from the village for medical treatment
Credit: International Animal Rescue
The animals were taken away from the village for medical treatment Credit: International Animal Rescue

The pair of apes, who were rescued last month in West Kalimantan province, have since been released back into the wild after undergoing medical check-ups.

International Animal Rescue will continue to monitor their health.

International Animal Rescue carried out a full medical check-up on the pair
Credit: International Animal Rescue
International Animal Rescue carried out a full medical check-up on the pair Credit: International Animal Rescue

The UK-based charity has conducted more than a dozen operations in the past two months to rescue orangutans who have moved away from their natural habitats strayed.

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