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The Wildlife Authority Investigates the Death of an Injured Sumatran Orangutan  (January 26, 2023)
Posted on 10:40 January 30th, 2023

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): The North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has started an investigation following the death of a 15-year-old Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) from severe injuries during treatment in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra.

Rudianto Saragih Napita, the provincial agency chief, said the BKSDA has formed an investigation team.

“We believe there was physical violence [involved] in the death,” Rudianto told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday (Jan 24). The orangutan was evacuated from a community health centre building in Kuta Pengkih village, in Karo regency, on Saturday. It was bound in ropes and bamboo. Local residents reportedly had caught the orangutan from a farming area to prevent it from destroying crops.

The orangutan was brought to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) where it died on Sunday. Rudianto said that an examination found fractures on the animal’s backbone and also violent impact injuries.

Orangutans are a protected species. According to Law No. 5/1990 it is “forbidden to catch, wound, kill, store, possess, smuggle or trade protected fauna, alive or dead.”

A study that was published in the Biological Conservation journal reports that the country saw 2,229 crimes against three orangutan species in the archipelago: Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli (Pongo pygmaeus, Pongo abelii and Pongo tapanuliensis), from 2007 to 2019.

Researchers noted that killing was the most prevalent crime against orangutans, followed by capture, possession or sale of infants, harm or capture of wild adult orangutans due to conflicts and attempted poaching not resulting in death, such as an animal caught in a snare.


The Sumatran orangutan sits in a cage before being repatriated from Thailand to Indonesia after having been smuggled into the kingdom, at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Dec 17, 2020. - AFP

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