According to IAR (International Animal Rescue) the Indonesian rainforest is slowly being taken over by palm oil production (along with wood and paper), which is killing off the habitat of the orangutan by destroying the forest in order to make more room to grow the crop. Palm oil company PT KAL (Kayung Agro Lestari) has already chased away a large number of orangutans that have fled from the new palm oil plantation.
The latest incident involves an Orangutan named Pelangsi, named after the area where he was found in the Ketapang region. Pelangsi is a young male that was trapped in a snare for ten days, before he was rescued by the IAR on Thursday. The trap snatched his right hand, which will need to be amputated since he tried to gnaw it off during the struggle to survive, says the charity.
“Pelangsi’s story is a graphic illustration of the fate of countless orangutans that are left homeless and hungry when the forest is cut down. Our rescue center is now caring for 50 orangutans and that number will continue to rise rapidly until drastic measures are taken by the palm oil companies to protect orangutans and other wildlife from the devastating effects of their industry.” IAR’s Karmele Llano Sanchez said in a press release. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species the Sumatran Orangutan is critically endangered and estimated a decline of over 80% in the last 75 years.
If you are not familiar with Palm Oil, it’s a product widely used in cosmetics and processed food, including Girl Scout cookies. Back in February, a couple of girl scouts even got together to protest the use of palm oil in the cookies due to the threat these companies pose to orangutans and the rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia. They went on to accept the prestigious U.N. award in New York for their work in bringing attention to the matter.