Orangutan rescued from ‘barbaric’ abuse in Aceh has 74 air rifle bullets lodged in body

Photos: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) / Twitter
Photos: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) / Twitter

While many animal activists inside and outside of Indonesia are working hard to save the country’s increasingly endangered orangutans, there are still some in Indonesia who see the great apes as nothing more than targets for their cruelty. That fact was brought to horrifying light today by the country’s much-praised head of data and information at the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Today, Sutopo shared heartbreaking images of two orangutans who were recently rescued by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of Aceh.


BKSDA Aceh successful evacuated 2 Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) from a park in the Bunga Tanjung Village in the Sultan Daulat sub-district of Subulussalam on Saturday (9/3/2019). The parent, OU, was severely injured because sharp blades and 74 air rifle bullets found in her body. OU’s child eventually died of severe nutritional deficiencies.

Elaborating further in a follow-up tweet with more x-rays of OU’s bullet injuries:

This is the Sumatran orangutan mother whose body was severely injured because of sharp blades and some 74 air rifle bullets. The baby orangutan, aged 1 month, died because of severe malnutrition and severe trauma. Truly barbaric are those people who tortured them. Currently in the care of BKSDA Aceh.

The Head of Aceh BKSDA, Sapto Aji Prabowo, told Detik that they had received a report about the orangutans about a week ago and immediately worked together with other agencies to have them removed.

“OU was then taken to the Sibolangit rehabilitation center in North Sumatra. But the baby could not be saved,” Sapto confirmed to Detik today, saying that the mother would be released into the wild once again after she had received treatment for her injuries.

There are many threats facing Indonesia’s orangutans, but first among them the destruction of their natural habitats by humans in order to make way for oil palm plantations and similar developments. But, as orangutans are increasingly pushed out of their habitats, they are also at greater danger of poaching, with locals often taking baby orangutans as pets while older ones may be sold or eaten.

A similarly shocking instance of animal abuse was uncovered last year in Central Borneo when the body of an orangutan was discovered that had been decapitated and shot 17 times. Two men were arrested for the crime but told investigators they had acted in self-defense.

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