Jakarta. Indonesia's Environment and Forestry Ministry is investigating the death of an orangutan whose headless and mutilated body was found earlier this week in Central Kalimantan's Barito River.
The male Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) was discovered by a villager and had likely been in the water for at least two days before being found. The hair on its body had been singed off and its head was nowhere to be found.
"We don't often see a decapitated orang utan. That's why this case has to be investigated. I have sent a team to Kalimantan," Wiratno, the ministry’s director general of natural resources and ecosystem conservation, said in Jakarta on Thursday (18/01).
Wiratno said the orangutan was most likely killed in one of the palm oil plantations near the river.
He said there are 224 palm oil companies based in the province. Orangutans live in 461,873 hectares of protected areas within the plantations owned by those companies, which took up a total area of 2.2 million hectares.
"Orangutans are considered as pests in those plantations, that's why they're frequently killed," Wiratno said, adding that he plans to meet with representatives from the companies to discuss ways to protect the endangered animal.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized Bornean orangutan as "critically endangered," one step away from being extinct.
The IUCN identified the main threats to the survival of the species as loss of habitat from deforestation and illegal wildlife trading.