Before I woke up this morning, I didn’t know that my new goal in life was to hug an orangutan. But now that’s the dream and I will keep blogging about cute things till it happens.
We first find this tiny orangutan in West Borneo in Indonesia. A rescue squad from the International Animal Rescue who we’ve heard from before, found a five year old Orangutan in bad shapes. He was inside a small wooden cage that only measured three by five feet.
That’s Utu, and he couldn’t have been happier to see the IAR team come to the rescue. Utu was there due to someone killed his mother and took him as a pet. It’s a truly tragic story but with a beautiful ending.
Lis Key, who is the PR and communications manager of IAR, talked to The Dodo and said:
“It is quite probable that Utu witnessed the killing of his mother. As a baby orangutan, he was probably clinging to her when she was killed. We have encountered cases where a baby orangutan has been injured with a machete or shot with an airgun, which almost certainly occurred when the baby’s mother was being attacked.”
If you need Kleenex for this article, I’ve provided you a link here.
Anyways, Utu had been in that cage for his whole life essentially so that was the first red flag. Then the IAR team saw that he was also very malnourished. Normally Utu’s diet should consist of leaves, bark, fruit, flowers, honey, insects and more things but it seems that his captor only gave him rice and some fruit every once and awhile.
Key continued to say:
“People who take in baby orangutans have no real knowledge of their natural diet and don’t know how much to feed them, and this is why many of the orangutans we rescue are in poor health and in some cases seriously ill.”
IAR also learned of how Utu’s mother died and it’s truly horrific. They shot and killed her and eventually ate her meat. What would drive people to do such a thing so close to cannibalism?! Utu might have been around for the whole disgusting ordeal also.
There was a second rescue in West Borneo that day as well. Joy, another young orangutan was saved from the exact same wooden box ordeal. Why is this a thing!? This owner had bought Joy for $21 from a hunter and only fed her rice, bananas, sugarcane and sweet potatoes. I guess there isn’t any How To books in West Borneo even if they do illegally obtain an orangutan.
Good news is both Utu and Joy are safe and sound and getting plenty of the right type of food for them.
Key also said:
“Encountering orangutans being kept in captivity as pets is always sad, but…it is doubly sad to find two young orangutans shut away behind bars, without their mothers and far from their natural home in the forest.”
Karmele L Sanchez, who is the program director for IAR, concluded in a statement:
“This is the time for all who keep orangutans to realize that if they continue to violate this law, orangutans will soon be extinct. People who encounter those that sell orangutans should not buy the orangutans and should immediately report them to the authorities. If people do not cooperate by handing over orangutans, then law enforcement is needed.”
If you want to help Utu and Joy get back to the wild, you can donate to the IAR here!