16th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
A veterinarian proceeds with a thorough medical check of am orangutan
Once on level ground, Jeni, the veterinarian, proceeds with a thorough medical check, assisted by the team, measuring the animal’s vital statistics and noting all visible markings. Here, they discover that she is blinded in one eye and has an old bullet wound on one leg.
Near Bangun Sari village in the Aceh province of Northern Sumatra Indonesia, a small plantation owner has called in HOCRU, the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (a division of the Orangutan Information Center - OIC), to rescue an orangutan from a rubber plantation. It is not the first time. As the rainforest continues to be depleted and fragmented by palm oil and rubber plantations, logging, road construction and other development, orangutans are forced out of their natural habitats in search of food. Contact with humans is inevitable and dangerous. Today, with just over 14,000 specimens left, the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) of the Leuser Ecosystem, is listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). After hours of tracking through thick brush, the team is able to tranquilize the animal and perform a medical check. Although this 15-year-old female, who the team names Linda, is blind in one eye and displays several other wounds from previous encounters with humans, her vitals are good and Jeni, the team veterinarian determines that she is fit to be returned to the Tenggulun protected forest, a two-hour drive from here.
© Alain Schroeder.
All rights reserved.
||Nov. 28, 2018, 11:17 p.m.