This starving and pregnant orangutan was seen holding onto one of the last trees in what was a pristine rainforest for millennia until these three bulldozers flattened the trees in only a couple of days.
Boon-Mee, the orangutan, was too scared and weak to leave the trunk where she tried to hide while these enormous machines were rummaging its home in Borneo.
Sadly, this also meant that she couldn’t go and find food so she and her unborn baby were set to suffer an agonizing death.
She would share the fate of so many other orangutans in Indonesia where the plantations for palm oil are destroying the tropical habitats of the primates in Sumatra and Borneo.
Primates’ Homes Are Being Destroyed
Hundreds of apes are killed on a yearly basis with guns and machetes for profit.
However, Boon-Mee was lucky as the owners of the plantation where she lives belong to a conservation group. They had informed a charity Animal Rescue from the UK about the orangutan.
So, an IAR team and several forestry officials were sent on site and they went through a huge amount of cut and fallen trees looking for the orangutan. They finally found her, together with three other orangutans.
One of the orangutans, Charanya, had a baby and was looking for food whereas Kalaya was semi-conscious and lactating. The team thought she either had a baby that died or had been taken away.
Boon-Mee was holding onto a bark, but was very weak.
Heartbreaking & Something Needs to Be Done
According to Lis Key, IAR official, it’s so sad seeing the state in which these beautiful animals are because their habitat is being shattered by the palm oil industry.
It’s a small success that this time, instead of killing them or chasing them away, the owners called the organization.
What Happened with Pregnant Boon-Mee?
She wasn’t easy to catch as she was quite weak so she couldn’t climb down the tree. The team decided to use a tranquilizer dart and then collected the poor animal in a net. Together with the other four animals, she was taken into a refuge.
There, she gave birth to her baby. They were nursed to health and when they were healthy enough, they were released into the wild in another forest.
The Decreasing Number of Orangutans
However, not all orangutans have the same destiny as these five- a lot of them are dying in terrible pain and living in terrifying conditions as they’re losing their habitat.
According to expert estimations, there are around 40,000 orangutans left in the wild, which is 20,000 less than one decade ago. IAR emphasize that the palm oil industry deforestation is the number one reason for this major reduction.
This oil is used in 50 percent of processed foods, but also as a bio-fuel, as well as in shampoos and cosmetics. Although there are alternatives to it, none of them are as cheap as palm oil is.
Customers often don’t even realize that palm oil is present in products they’re regularly using as it’s legal for it to be labeled as ‘vegetable oil’.
The EU plans on introducing new rules for labeling it, but whether this will help or not remains to be seen.