Rescue workers are fighting to save the life of an orangutan called Aan, hit more than 100 times by pellets from an air rifle. Aan is making miraculous recovery after she sustained serious injuries in an attack in which she was shot several times.
According to The Jakarta Post, a rescue team from the UK-based Orangutan Foundation and the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency found the orangutan in grassland area in the outskirts of an oil plantation in the Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan area. She was struggling for life with 104 pellets lodged in several parts of her body on Oct. 10.
The Australian ABC.net reports Aan is female while The Jakarta Post reports the orangutan is male.
According to the Daily Mail, doctors say she was hit 37 times in the head and 67 times in other parts of the body. The Orangutan Foundation says the agency does not know who shot the ape, which is now receiving treatment at a clinic and rehabilitation center in the Borneo jungle.
According to The Jakarta Post, Zulfiqri, a doctor treating Aan, said that infections in the wounds could have caused death. The bullets caused damage to her vision and also hearing impairment.
Her rescuers say she has survived and has started feeding at the clinic. The pellets lodged in her body are still being removed. Her treatment is being supported by volunteers from the UK-based Orangutan Foundation.
The Daily Mail reports that a local conservationist said: "We're amazed, but truly thankful, that she has managed to cheat death – but it has been touch and go."
Concerns still remain that she could die from infections caused by the wounds to her head and those near her heart and lungs.
According to the Courier Mail, Hartono, head of the local government conservation agency, said: "She is fighting hard. She was badly wounded, but she's starting to eat so we're hopeful.”
The Daily Mail reports he said: “Even though she is eating, she is still, technically, fighting for her life. She has been very seriously injured and she could relapse at any moment. But she’s a true fighter. She’s fighting very hard.”
Her rescuers are also concerned she may have lost her sight totally and that her hearing could be permanently damaged.
Although, The Jakarta Post reports officials say the ape will be released to Sungai Lamandu nature conservatory in Central Kalimantan, there are concerns that she may be unable to survive in the wild because the permanent handicap of her injuries will render her vulnerable to subsequent attacks and she would have difficulties finding food. But having been raised in the wild, remaining in captivity may be distressful for her, the Daily Mail notes.
The Courier Mail reports Hartono said, "We may be able to release her, but we're worried about her chances of survival with no sight and poor hearing.”
According to conservationists, Aan’s case is the latest in cases of cruelty to the endangered apes. Vigilantes employed by palm oil plantations target them for destruction.
Orangutans are forced to enter oil plantations in search of food because their natural forest habitats are being destroyed by the expansion of oil palm plantations. Orangutans are faced with extinction from destruction of their natural forest habitat and there have been many cases of killings of orangutans on plantations that target them for destruction as pests.
Digital Journal reported the case of a pregnant female orangutan and her daughter that the British animal rescue organization Four Paws saved from knife-wielding bounty hunters in Borneo.
Conservationists say only 50,000 to 60,000 of the two major species of orangutans are left in the wild.
According to the Daily Mail, four men were recently jailed for eight months for shooting and beating three orangutans and a long-nosed monkey to death in Borneo. It was found that operators of the oil palm plantation had hired them to eliminate the apes.