A baby orangutan held by a resident of West Kalimantan's Kubu Raya district, in this October 2015 file photo. (Antara Photo/Jessica Helena Wuysang)

Orangutan Infant Found Abandoned in C. Kalimantan


AUGUST 05, 2016

Jakarta. An infant Bornean orangutan was found abandoned in a rubber plantation in Sampit, Central Kalimantan, on Thursday morning (04/08).

"At sunset [last night], I heard what sounded like someone wailing, which turned out to be the orangutan. It was sitting in a rubber tree in my plantation. Then this morning I saw that there was no mother, and I took it to Sampit and reported it [to the authorities]," local resident Martono said, as reported by state-run news agency Antara.

The Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) went to Martono's house to examine the infant, and established that it is an 18-month-old female. Infant orangutans are completely dependent on their mothers for the first two years of their lives.

"An orangutan mother would never leave her child. We cannot conclude whether the mother was killed, but what is clear is that the infant has been rescued,"Sampit BKSDA post commander Muriansyah said.

According to Martono, it was his first time seeing an orangutan in the area, as most of the trees in his rubber plantation have burned down, making it hard for the animals to survive and find food. He said he pitied the infant as she looked malnourished, and suspected that she was starving.

"I was scared that the baby [orangutan] would die [from hunger]; I reported it so the officials could save her. I gave her a banana, but she only ate a little of it," Martono said.

The infant has been taken to the BKSDA regional office at Pangkalan Bun in West Kotawaringin district. According to the officials, orangutans can take up to two years of rehabilitation before they are ready to be released into their natural habitat.

The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Central Kalimantan claims that this is the 10th orangutan reported by Sampit residents so far this year.

The Bornean orangutan is a cousin of the Sumatran orangutan, both of which have been listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of critically endangered animals, due to population loss driven by hunting and habitat degradation.