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Orangutan Dies After Being Shot with 40 Pellets

Dec 05, 2014 06:53 PM EST
An orangutan named Rocky has developed the ability to copy human speech, creating vocal-sounding calls and controlling his voice in a "conversational" context.
(Photo : Pixabay)

An orangutan found on a palm oil plantation in Borneo died Thursday after being shot with 40 air-rifle pellets, adding to the list of animal victims as a result of conflicts with humans.

A team at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation in Nyaru Menteng received the adult female in critical condition Thursday, with X-rays showing "10 pellets in the head, 8 pellets in the left leg and pelvis, 18 pellets in the right leg and pelvis, as well as six pellets in the chest and right hand," the foundation wrote in a press release.

Not to mention that both of the animal's legs and arms were broken, she had maggots crawling in her open wounds, and she suffered from malnutrition. Experts estimate that her wounds were more than three days old.

In order to try to save this endangered animal, the foundation's veterinary team performed surgery, amputated her badly decomposed left arm, and cleaned and sutured her right leg. Yet despite all their efforts, the orangutan died finally at 6:07 pm (local time) on Thursday.

This tragic incident is yet another incident demonstrating to dire situation orangutans are in. Land clearing for palm oil and paper plantations is rapidly destroying forest habitat that orangutans depend on for survival.

Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) may mean "man of the forest," but it holds little weight given that they are losing it to humans. These long-haired, orange primates, found only in Borneo and Sumatra, totaled around 230,000 about a century ago. Now the Bornean orangutan is estimated around 41,000, making it an endangered species. Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund says, there are merely 7,500 Sumatrans left, qualifying them as being critically endangered.

And as deforestation and logging continues to destroy the trees they depend on, human activities put orangutans at greater risk of extinction.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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