Pregnant and starving orang-utan clinging to final tree as bulldozer destroy rainforest around her

A starving pregnant Orang-otan clings to a solitary tree high above what had been pristine rainforest  for millennia. Till giant bulldozer moved in and flattened it in days.

The traumatised animal was too weak and frightened to leave the trunk where she had sought sanctuary as the machine tore down her jungle home in Borneo.

That meant she could not forage for food, condemning herself and her unborn baby to an agonising death.

Boon mee seemed doomed to share the fate of so many orang-otans like her, where palm oil plantations are destroying the primates natural and tropical habitat.

Hundreds of apes are slaughtered every year with guns and machetes in the drive for profits.

But in fact Boon mee was lucky because in her case the plantation owners belong to a conservation group and told UK based charity international rescue about her.

An IAR team backed by local forestry officials was dispatched and spent hours scrambling over fallen trees, often having to wear masks because stumps had been torched and were still smouldering.

When they finally arrived at the scene, they found not just Boon Mee but three other orangutans.

Charanya had a baby and was desperately searching for food.

Kalaya was semi conscious and lactating, leading the team to think she just had a baby. Which had either died or had been taken as a pet.

Meanwhile boon mee was surviving on bark.

IAR official Lis Key said: ‘it’s heartbreaking to see the appalling state of these animals as their habitat is razed for palm oil industry_ it’s a small comfort that this time rather than chase them off or kill them, the company did the right thing and contacted us’

Boon mee was the trickiest of the primates to catch because she was too weak to climb down from the tree.

In the end rescuer shot her with a tranquilliser and caught her in a net.

The three adults were taken to a refuge where Boon-Mee successfully had her baby.

She was one of several orangutans saved from probable death in Borneo due to the deforestation which threatens their existence.

Among those rescued were a pregnant female and a mother and baby who refused to let go of each other during their ordeal.

Rescuers from UK charity International Animal Rescue (IAR) and the local forestry department in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, moved in to save the creatures.

The frightened animals were desperately searching for food and had even resorted to eating bark from the trees they were trying to hide in.

One female orangutan was heavily pregnant, while another, who was still lactating, is thought to have had her baby snatched to be sold as a pet or killed before the rescue team arrived.

The final female was found with her scared baby clinging to her back and both were very thin from malnutrition.

All are now recovering and have since been released into a new area of forest but IAR is now urging a halt to any further land clearing because it is believed that there are other orangutans still trapped.

Karmele Llano Sanchez of IAR Indonesia said: ‘We were appalled at the condition of these orangutans.

‘All of them had gone through long periods of starvation before we rescued them.

‘The area where they were found was too small to provide them with sufficient food because the company had cleared most of the forest.

‘One of the orangutans had lost her baby, which was probably killed before the rescue team arrived.

‘More orangutans could die if this company does not take immediate action.’

‘It is heartbreaking to see the state of these animals.

‘They are weak from hunger and an increasingly desperate search for food.

Palm oil is an ingredient found in up to half of processed foods, and is also increasingly being used as a biofuel in petrol tanks and power stations.

 

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