An orangutan with a young baby on Indonesia’s Sumatra island was blinded after being shot at least 74 times with an air gun, an official and veterinarian said. The orangutan was discovered by villagers, curled up on the ground, holding her baby.
The orangutan, named Hope, was taken to a veterinary clinic and cared for by volunteers from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, together with her baby, who later died because of dehydration and malnutrition.
An X-ray showed at least 74 air gun pellets in her body, including four in her left eye and two in the right. She was blinded by the shooting and also had several open wounds believed to have been caused by sharp objects. Hope underwent surgery to repair a broken collarbone and is now recovering at the Clinic.
She cannot be released to the wild anymore, says the veterinarian at the clinic.
The orangutan conservation program says the use of readily available air guns to shoot and kill wildlife, including orangutans, is a major problem in Indonesia.
Only around 13,400 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild. The species is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
This is not a ‘conflict’ but a one-sided annihilation and destruction.
Although the orangutan is referred to by her human-given name (Hope), several newspaper reports still call her and her baby an ‘it’, as if they were objects. Hope is not an ‘it’, but a 30-year old mother who has lost her home, her baby and has been made disabled.
The situation leading to the orangutan casualties is also referred to as a ‘conflict’ between orangutans and humans. “Conflicts between orangutans and people have increased as the palm oil and paper industries shrink the animals’ jungle habitat“, writes CBC.
Conflict is a euphemism here. It is not simply a disagreement of interests by two parties on each side of the fence. As if the orangutans have a say in the matter. As if they need to put in more of an effort to stake out their interests in claiming their land, their home, their lives. The availablility of airguns is also not so much the problem, as is the profit driving logging and palmoil industry. This is not a ‘conflict’ but a one-sided annihilation and destruction. The orangutans home is being destroyed and they are being murdered. We are taking their home. We are killing them. Despite orangutans efforts to show us that they want to protect the trees they are living in.
[Video shows a logging operation. An orangutan is holding on to the tree as the tree is pushed down by a bulldozer. The orangutan rushes up to the bulldozer and slams it. Later the orangutan jumps of the tree to the ground, appears to be shot by one of the bystanders, then wanders further into the destroyed habitat – out of sight of camera]
– Orangutan that was shot with 74 pellets goes blind from her injuries a week after her baby died from malnutrition because she was too badly hurt to feed it.
– Orangutan blinded after being shot 74 times with air gun pellets.
– Animal rescue workers capture moment orangutan tries to defend its home from loggers.