Beautiful blue-eyed albino orangutan rescued from captivity in Borneo

Romil Patel
Albino orangutan rescued in Borneo

An extremely rare albino orangutan has been rescued from a remove village by authorities in the Indonesian part of Borneo island.

The orangutan is estimated to be five-years-old and has pale hair and striking blue eyes. She was held captive for two days in a cage by villagers in the Kapuas Hulu sub-district, located in Central Kalimantan province.

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Borneo's orangutan populations have declined by more than 50% over the past 60 years and they are critically endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The rescued animal is now being cared for by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).

The group said the rescue took place on Saturday (29 April) after it received information from the Kapuas Hulu Chief of Police.

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"A preliminary physical examination conducted by our medical team has determined this is an albino orangutan: her hair, eye, and skin colour is paler than normal, and she is also sensitive to light," the BOSF said on its website.

"We will continue to observe her and conduct routine health tests. She was held captive by local residents for two days and still displays wild behaviours, meaning there is a good chance she could soon be released back to a natural habitat."

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Orangutans usually have reddish-brown hair and dark eyes.

"Orangutans are rare, and an albino orangutan is even rarer," BOSF spokesman Nico Hermanu told AFP.

"Since BOSF was founded 25 years ago, we had never before taken in an albino orangutan at our rehabilitation centre," he added.

Images of the female showed dried blood around her nose, which may have been sustained as she tried to fight off villagers' attempts to catch her.

Albino orangutan rescued in Borneo

According to the WWF, around 104,000 orangutans are estimated to live on the world's third-largest island, which is teeming with exotic and endemic species.

The rescue of the albino orangutan is a positive sign as it indicates there could be more, BOSF CEO Jamartin Sihite said.

"There must be orangutans living in the forests from whom the albino orangutan inherited the disorder, for it is genetic," Sihite was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.

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