Orangutan recovers after shot with 74 airgun pellets in Indonesia

SUBULUSSALAM, Indonesia (AFP) – An orangutan is slowly recovering after being shot with 74 airgun pellets in Indonesia, an official said yesterday.

The 30-year-old female was found severely wounded in Aceh province last Sunday after officials received a tip-off from villagers.

She was found in critical condition with her one-month baby under a jackfruit tree on a plantation owned by a villager.

“The orangutans came to a villager’s plantation and they were considered as threats by the owner who then attempted to expel the animals,” said Chief of Aceh Conservation Agency Sapto Aji Prabowo.

Officials immediately rescued the animals but the baby died from malnutrition.

Hope the orangutan is slowly recovering after being shot with 74 airgun pellets last Sunday
An X-ray shows some of the dozens of air pellets fired into the orangutan. – PHOTOS: AFP

Almost a week later, officials said the ape, who’s been given the name Hope, is slowly recovering.

“Hope is getting better, she’s starting to eat,” Sapto Aji Prabowo told AFP.

Orangutans are critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with only about 100,000 worldwide. Plantation workers and villagers are sometimes known to attack what they consider a pest, while poachers capture the animals to sell as pets.

“We will investigate whether this was just an incident or (if) a mafia has been involved,” said Law Enforcement Head of Aceh Conservation Agency Jefrizal, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

A string of fatal attacks on the apes have been blamed on farmers and hunters.