Saving Orangutans-medical check in the jungle

Alain Schroeder

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Indonesia, Sumatra. Once on level ground, veterinarian Jeni, assisted by the team, proceeds with a thorough medical check 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 North Sumatra Indonesia, a small plantation owner has called in HOCRU, the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (a division of the Orangutan Information Centre - 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. After hours of tracking through thick brush, the team is able to sedate the animal and perform a medical check.  Although this 15-year-old female, who the team names Lynda, is blind in one eye and displays several other wounds from previous encounters with humans, her vitals are good and (vet) Jeni, determines that she is fit to be returned to the Tenggulun protected forest, a two-hour drive (shortcut through a palm oil plantation) from here.

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