View this email in your browser

'Friday' the orangutan is returned to safety

This huge male orangutan was evacuated from farmlands last week by the rescue team in Sumatra, and released back into the Leuser forests at dawn the next morning. 


Photographer Paul Hilton accompanied the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit and captured these incredible images of the rescue.

A bulldozer moves earth inside the protected Leuser Ecosystem to make way for palm oil expansion. 

The rescue team had received a call from the government authorities: a local community in Aceh had reported an orangutan trapped in their farmlands. When the team arrived on the scene, they found him in a tiny patch of forest surrounded on all sides by oil palms - plantations spanning the size of 3,000 football fields. There was no way that the orangutan could have survived there for long, nor made it back to safe forests alone.

A member of the rescue team lines up a shot, using a tranquilizer dart to bring down the orangutan

As it was Good Friday, the orangutan soon became known as Friday by the team. Sedated with a tranquiliser dart, Friday fell 15 metres into the net below.

The vet conducts a medical check up 

Having been isolated in such a small patch of trees, he was very underweight, and the vet also found a bullet in his chest, which was removed on the scene. It is likely that Friday would have starved, or been shot again, if he had not been rescued.

Panut Hadisiwoyo, Director of the Orangutan Information Centre, our partner organisation in Sumatra, said, “Over the last 3 years OIC has rescued 64 orangutans stranded just like this one. Adults, juveniles, mothers with babies – they end up in plantations looking for the forest that used to be here, for the fruits they need to survive. Friday’s rescue brought the count for this year to 11 orangutans already. That’s 11 in just 3 months so it’s a real concern”.

Friday is released into the Leuser forests

At dawn the next morning, Friday was released into the Leuser Ecosystem. As soon as the door of the crate was lifted, he scaled the nearest tree and within seconds was looking down at the rescue team from the forest canopy, shaking branches and vocalising.

These rescues are vital - with so few Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, every life is precious. However, they do not solve the larger problem that is driving human-wildlife conflict. To protect orangutans in the long term, we need to ensure that their habitat is safe.

Friday in the forest canopy

The Leuser Ecosystem, the last stronghold for Sumatran orangutans, is under extreme threat due to a proposed new spatial plan for the province of Aceh, which would see huge swathes of forest handed over for the development of plantations and roads. We are facing a true conservation crisis, and SOS is working with partners in Sumatra to fight for the plans to be cancelled and for the Leuser forests to be protected.

A happy ending for Friday, but only if we can keep the forests safe.

Please help. 

Make a one-off or regular donation
Join our Ape-ril campaign and raise funds for SOS
Copyright © *SOS 2014 *| All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Sumatran Orangutan Society, The Old Music Hall, 106-108 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JE

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences