East Kalimantan orangutan dies from multiple gunshot, stab wounds

Gemma Holliani Cahya    The Jakarta Post   9 February 2018

“An orangutan was found with gunshot and stab wounds on Sunday in Teluk Pandan village in the East Kutai regency of East Kalimantan, only three weeks after an orangutan was found beheaded in Central Kalimantan. The great ape later died following emergency treatment.

The sub-adult orangutan, who was 5 to 7 years old, was found by villagers on Sunday evening and evacuated by the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) to Pupuk Kaltim hospital on Monday morning. He was found in critical condition in a tree in the middle of a lake near the border of Kutai National Park.

Doctors at the hospital found dozens of old and new wounds from an airsoft gun all over the great ape’s body, 74 of them in his head. They also found 19 fresh stab wounds on his body. The orangutan’s left foot had been cut off.

The orangutan died on Tuesday morning after 12 hours of surgery and treatment at Pupuk Kaltim hospital.

“There were 130 pellets found in his body. This is the largest number of pellets we have ever found in a  case of an orangutan shooting. In 2013 in Central Kalimantan, we found 103 pellets in an orangutan’s body,” COP spokesperson Ramadhani told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Ramadhani said that an autopsy found that the wounds in the orangutan showed that the endangered animal had been injured on several different occasions.

“You can see that the cut on his left foot was dry. This shows that it happened some time ago. Dozens of pellet wounds have dried too. But others were still new, the stab wounds are also new,” he said.

The COP is calling the case the “second Kaluhara”, because a similar incident occurred in the same village in May 2016.

“In the first Kaluhara [case] in 2016, we found a blind orangutan in critical condition in East Kutai, also near Kutai National Park. We could see from his wounds that the older ones had made him blind, and the new wounds killed him,” Ramadhani said.

The COP has recorded 25 orangutan shooting cases since 2012. Seven of these cases occurred in East Kalimantan, four in Central Kalimantan, two in West Kalimantan and the remaining 12 cases in Sumatra.

“There have been seven orangutan shooting cases in East Kalimantan since 2012, but no one has ever been arrested for it,” Ramadhani said, “If [the authorities] were truly concerned about it, they could arrest the culprits easily. East Kalimantan’s law enforcers and East Kalimantan Environment and Forestry agency should be more serious in handling this case.”

“There must be stronger efforts by law enforcement regarding the orangutan issue,” the chief executive officer of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), Jamartin Sihite, told the Post on Wednesday.

Read also: New orang utan species found

Kalimantan orangutans are threatened with extinction not only from the degradation and conversion of their forest habitat, but also from poaching. In the wild, orangutans can live up to 45 years.

The BOSF said that in the last 12 years, the orangutan population in Kalimantan had decreased by half.

Based on its 2004 Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA), 54,817 orangutans populated an 8.1 million-hectare area in Kalimantan. The 2016 PHVA covered an area of 16 million hectares in Kalimantan and found that the orangutan population had fallen to 57,350. (dmr)”

Photo by MBarrettMiller/Connemara Productions

***

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