Orangutan shot 130 times with air­gun in sec­ond Bor­neo killing

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

A MALE orangutan on the In­done­sian por­tion of Bor­neo died af­ter be­ing shot at least 130 times with an air­gun and ap­par­ently be­ing stabbed and clubbed, in the sec­ond known killing of a crit­i­cally en­dan­gered orangutan this year.

Vil­lagers spot­ted the wounded orangutan in a lake in the Ku­tai Timur district of East Kal­i­man­tan prov­ince on Sun­day.

Lo­cal po­lice chief Teddy Ris­ti­awan said Wed­nes­day that the great ape was still alive when he was taken to a hos­pi­tal in the town of Bon­tang on Mon­day.

A state­ment from the Cen­tre for Orangutan Pro­tec­tion said the orangutan died early Tues­day.

An X-ray showed at least 130 air­gun pel­lets in its body, in­clud­ing more than 70 in its head, the cen­tre said.

It said an au­topsy found the an­i­mal had been blinded as a re­sult of the shoot­ing and also had 17 open wounds be­lieved to be caused by sharp ob­jects. Its left thigh, right chest and left hand were bruised from blunt ob­ject trauma.

Ra­mad­hani, a man­ager of habi­tat pro­tec­tion at the cen­tre who goes by one name, said the death was a ter­ri­ble event in the his­tory of con­flict be­tween orang­utans and hu­mans in In­done­sia.

“The 130 pel­lets within the body of a primate is a new record, the most ever,” he said.

In mid-jan­uary, an orangutan was found de­cap­i­tated and shot more than a dozen times with an air gun in Cen­tral Kal­i­man­tan, en­vi­ron­men­tal news web­site Mongabay re­ported. Po­lice ar­rested two rub­ber farm­ers sus­pected in the killing, it said.

The num­ber of orang­utans in Bor­neo and on the In­done­sian is­land of Su­ma­tra, recog­nised as sep­a­rate species and both clas­si­fied as crit­i­cally en­dan­gered, has fallen pre­cip­i­tously since the 1970s.

Orang­utans are a pro­tected species in In­done­sia and Malaysia, but de­for­esta­tion has dra­mat­i­cally re­duced their habi­tat and brought them into con­tact with farm­ers and plan­ta­tion work­ers who kill them to pro­tect crops and for meat.

About 40 per­cent of Bor­neo’s forests have been lost since the early 1970s and another huge swath of for­est is ex­pected to be converted to plan­ta­tion agri­cul­ture in the next decade.

Photo: COP/AP

Hardi Bak­tiantoro of the Cen­tre for Orangutan Pro­tec­tion holds an X-ray show­ing air ri­fle pel­lets lodged in the head and body of an orangutan in East Kal­i­man­tan, In­done­sia, on Tues­day.

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