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Baby Orangutan Saved After Mother Found Dead


FOUR PAWS gives orphaned orangutan baby a second chance at life

 

BOSTON - JULY 19, 2017 – Last weekend, FOUR PAWS and its Indonesian partner organization Jejak Pulang took in an orphaned baby orangutan after it had been found next to his dead mother in a palm oil plantation. At the Orangutan Forest School, a project jointly run by FOUR PAWS and Jejak Pulang, the baby will learn survival skills to be reintroduced to the wild.

 

Until the baby had been confiscated by Indonesian authorities and brought to the Forest School, the eight-month-old male had been kept as a substitute child by a family living in a village near Sepuluh (East Kalimantan.) FOUR PAWS Project Leader and Primatologist Dr. Signe Preuschoft stated, “The psychological scars from his short life are clear in his behavior. When we hold him in our arms he’s keen to try new things but as soon as he can no longer feel bodily contact, he either hugs himself or the toy we’ve given him. He also can’t hold on by himself as his human ‘mother’ always cradled him and carried him like a human baby.”  

 

Although the Forest School is currently under construction and won’t officially open until the fall, the team could not turn the baby away, making him the first orphan to move into the quarantine station. After a thorough examination by FOUR PAWS veterinarians, he is now being lovingly looked after and nursed back to health by a team of caregivers.

 

Dr. Preuschoft shared, “One of the most important things we will work on with the baby is getting his muscles in shape. Our main goal however is to prepare him to be released to the wild. During the four-week quarantine period, our little boy will live with his substitute mothers in our baby house. Here he will be cared for night and day. We’ll introduce him to the older orphans when he’s ready and eventually, with a substitute mother, he’ll be able to start spending a few hours a day in the Forest School. There he’ll learn everything he needs to know to be able to live independently and free. When he reaches puberty, he’ll move with his familiar caretakers into the Forest Academy before finally being re- released to the wild.”

 

In April 2017, Jejak Pulang signed a cooperation agreement with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry to create a new orangutan rehabilitation and release project funded by FOUR PAWS. Three older orphans are now being cared for in a quarantine station. The project, jointly run by FOUR PAWS and Jejak Pulang, rescues and rehabilitates illegally caught orangutans with the goal of releasing them safely back to the forest in East Kalimantan.

 

Fewer than 50,000 wild orangutans are left. Approximately 3,000 fall victim to the destruction of the rainforest for commercial plantations and open-cast coal mining. Many baby orangutans in Borneo, Indonesia suffer a dreadful fate: their mothers brutally murdered by humans while they are caught and sold as pets. So much of Borneo’s forest has now been destroyed that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) officially classified the Borneo orangutan as critically endangered at the beginning of 2016. Recent studies show that the orangutan population in Borneo has shrunk by 80 percent and that they will be doomed to extinction within three orangutan generations. 


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