TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Bornean orangutan found on an Indonesian oil plantation has been rescued and relocated to the forest, a conservation group said in a statement on Wednesday (August 19), the latest example of how habitat loss is piling pressure on the critically endangered animal in the wild.
The male orangutan, named "Boncel," and estimated to be 30 to 40-years-old, was found with four other orangutans looking for food after wandering into an palm oil plantation in early August.
"We found five orangutans (in the area) and we managed to relocate four of them back into the wild, except for this male orangutan, that still remains in the plantation," said International Animal Rescue Indonesia's Veterinarian, Andiri Nurillah in a video recording made on Tuesday (August 18).
The great ape was tranquillised at the plantation in Ketapang, West Kalimantan province, before being put in a cage and taken by motor boat to a safer area in the forest.
Boncel was in good condition when found, apart from having a fractured finger and other minor injuries, said Nurillah, adding that he appeared to have handled his move to a new area well. The release of Boncel came just weeks after two Bornean orangutans were rescued from captivity.
There are only estimated to be around 100,000 Bornean orangutans left in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund, after the population crashed by more than 50% over the past 60 years.
The animals have suffered from illegal poaching, as well as destruction of habitat due to large-scale logging and replacement of forests with cash crops such as palm oil.