Momma Orangutan Protectively Cradles Her Baby While Bounty Hunters Close in for the Kill : The World We Share

Over the last several years, many animals have stood on the brink of extinction. For homes for humans, food for humans, paper, chairs and everything else in existence, habitat homes for wildlife are depleting at alarming rates. Most of the animals that live in these habitats die because they no longer have a place to live or food to eat. And while this should not be discounted, what happened recently in Borneo is completely inexcusable.

In probably the most alarming and gut-wrenching display of wildlife depletion, a pregnant mother orangutan protectively cradled her daughter as Borneo bounty hunters closed in for the kill. The reason they were on the bounty hunters’ hit list? The palm oil plantation they were found in wanted them gone, seeing them as ‘pests,’ and they were willing to offer a reward for the death of any orangutans on the property.

But just as the bounty hunters were moments away from collecting their reward, a British-based international animal rescue group, Four Paws, stepped in. Had they arrived even moments later, the mother and daughter would have been slaughtered, but as it turns out, the pair were released back into the wild and the mother was implanted with a tracking device so that the group could ensure their safety.

“We discovered a gang of young men surrounding them and both victims were clearly petrified,” stated Dr. Signe Preuschoft, a Four Paws primate expert. “The gang meanwhile were jubilant in anticipation of their rewards for catching and killing the animals. Our arrival could not have been more timely. A few minutes later and the orangutans could have been dead. These massacres must not be allowed to continue.”

Palm oil is used in many processed foods – from chocolate to chips – and the demand for more palm oil at a lower price has led to more and more plantations. This, of course, leads to deforestation, but it seems that the situation is much worse than just that. Plantation owners are offering bounties for the death and removal of the orangutan ‘pests’ and bounty hunters are more than happy to collect the fees.

At first, the stories about bounties for orangutans were denied, but last September, investigators uncovered several graves and bones of orangutans that confirmed the activity. In the last two months, 10 arrests have been made in connection with the orangutan slaughters.

But the damage from the slaughtering goes much further than just the death of innocent creatures. Baby orangutans have been found alive after their parents have been slaughtered. These infants do not have the life skills they need to survive on their own. Those found have been taken to a sanctuary by organizations like Four Paws so that they can be taught the life skills they need to return to the wild.

Unfortunately, if the wild doesn’t change, these gentle and already endangered animals may not stand a chance.

If you don’t like what you just read, then take the time to educate yourself on sustainable food sources and learn what is inside the foods you eat. While you are just one person, you are one person that can make a difference. I believe that Ghandi said it best…”Be the change you want to see in the world.”