VIRAL: Dramatic video captures conservationists struggling to save desperate orangutan from drowning in a raging river

A surveyor from the Centre for Orangutan Protection grabbing a branch to help save a struggling orangutan. Photo: Centre for Orangutan Protection / Facebook

It’s impossible to know why the orangutan in this video was trying to cross this perilous section of the Lesan River in East Kalimantan. It might have simply been exploring, but we’d venture to guess that it was driven by hunger or fear caused by the loss of its natural habitat, a danger more and more of Indonesia’s endangered orangutans face every day.

What we know for sure is that this primate was pretty lucky that a group of conservationists from the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) happened to come across it while it hung for dear life to save itself from being swept into the raging river’s waters.

Video of the dramatic save, which took place on March 12, was posted to Facebook by Ken Hardi, the founder of COP, an NGO which combats crimes against orangutans and their habitat. As he explained in the post accompanying the video:

“This is about life or death. Orangutans do like water, but they do not swim. We found this poor orangutan trapped in swift water of Lesan river, just below the Gorilla Waterfall. We found this orangutan by accident when we do survey. If we’re late, maybe orangutan is already dead. Currently we are building research stations and security posts. Your support save more orangutans.”

Epik. Ini tentang hidup atau mati. Orangutan memang menyukai air, tetapi mereka tidak berenang. Kami menemukan…

Posted by Centre for Orangutan Protection on Wednesday, 15 March 2017

COP uses its network of research stations and security posts to survey deforestation and its effects on the local orangutan population. The NGO evacuates orangutans from oil palm plantation or fragmented forests and relocates them to other forests or rehabilitation centers as needed to ensure their long-term survival.

If you are interested in supporting the Centre for Orangutan Protection and their work you can check out their website.

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