A pair of orangutans made a very lucky escape after they were rescued from a palm oil plantation.
Activists from The Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit, which work in Sumatra in Indonesia, were able to save the orangutans from what is fast becoming a very dangerous situation.
Director of the Orangutan Information Centre, Panut Hadisiswoyo explains, ‘this location used to be the habitat of orangutans and then turned into oil palm plantations. There are several enclaves of orangutan that are isolated inside and are unable to return to the forest.’
‘From 2012 to date, more than ten orangutans have been rescued from this region. This place used to be a habitat for orangutans but then it was turned into a palm oil plantation.’
Heartbreakingly, it is now estimated that up to 1,500 orangutans lose their lives on palm oil plantations every year due to lack of food, loss of habitat or poachers.
And if that wasn’t enough danger for these primates to face, they are also victims of the illegal pet trade, which further decreases their numbers.
As a result, experts now believe that there are only around 6,000 of the precious Sumatran orangutans left living in the wild, making rescues like this one all the more important in the battle to preserve the species.
Panut says, ‘orangutans are just like humans – they can quickly adjust to new habitats. For example, if they have to live in a palm oil plantation, they will eat the palm fruit to survive. But this is not an ideal condition for orangutans because they can become susceptible to illness such as malnutrition, because they’ve been eating unfavourable fruits, such as rubber or palm fruit, that don’t have enough nutrition for long term survival.’
Thankfully the future is much brighter for this lucky pair of orangutans – a mother and her son – as they were taken to the Gunung Leuser National Park where they were released back into the wild.
Watch the video above to see more of their amazing release thanks to the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit.