An orangutan who was shot by an air rifle was rescued in Indonesia’s Borneo region, and rescuers are working adamantly to dislodge 104 pellets from her body, a conservationist told the Associated Press on Saturday.
The shot orangutan was found in a palm oil plantation in the Central Kalimantan province, this month, Tigor Nainggolan, a conductor at the British-run Orangutan Foundation said.
No details about who shot the orangutan, who is thought to be about 15-years-old, are known.
Thus far, 32 pellets lodged into her body and head have been removed by veterinarians, Nainggolan said. The orangutan endured a three-hour surgery at a small hospital in the town of Pangkalan Bun, on October 20. An X-ray revealed that there were 37 bullets in the orangutan’s head and 67 others in her body.
Depending on her condition, she may undergo another operation to remove more of the pellets from her body.
Aan, the orangutan, has become blind in the left eye from the intense impact of the pellets.
Nearly 90 percent of the orangutans living in the wild can be found in Indonesia. However, during the last half-century, the lush rain forest has been greatly decimated in order to satisfy the world’s need for pulp, paper, timber, and in recent years, palm oil.
Although Indonesia has the world’s third largest expanse of tropical rain forest, over one million hectares are removed annually, The Asia Foundationreports.
As the natural habitat for many orangutans is cut back, most of the 50,000-60,000 apes live in degraded forests which puts them in constant contact with humans, and endangers their lives.
Last year, a survey by the Nature Conservancy and other organizations, found that villagers who live on the Borneo side of Indonesia kill about 750 orangutans annually. Sometimes the orangutans are killed to protect crops and other times they are killed for their meat.