Shocked wildlife officials who rescued an injured critically endangered orangutan and her starving baby say they found 74 air gun pellets lodged in her body.
The 30-year-old Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) was found with her starving baby, who later died, on a palm oil plantation near the city of Subulussalamm, in Aceh Province, on the island of Sumatra in north-western Indonesia.
The one-month-old baby orangutan was so badly malnourished it subsequently died but its mother is expected to survive despite her injuries and has been nicknamed ‘Hope’.
However Hope, who also suffered broken bones and cuts, has been left completely blind from her injuries.
She was rescued by officials from the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Aceh and is now being cared for at an animal rehabilitation centre at the Sibolangit nature reserve in northern Sumatra.
Sapto Aji Prabowo, the regional head of the agency, described the people who had tortured and abused the critically endangered ape as “truly barbaric”.
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He said his team had received a report about the orangutans at the palm oil plantation about a week earlier and decided to launch a rescue bid.
The Sumatran orangutan, one of the three species of orangutans, is found only in the north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
It is critically endangered with the main threat posed by human activities, especially habitat destruction as a result of palm oil cultivation, and poaching.
Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates.
They use a variety of sophisticated tools and construct elaborate nests each night from branches and foliage.