Orangutan recovers after shot with 74 airgun pellets in Indonesia


Subulussalam (Indonesia) (AFP)

An orangutan is slowly recovering after being shot with 74 airgun pellets in Indonesian, an official said Saturday.

The 30-year-old female was found severely wounded in Aceh province last Sunday after officials received a tipoff from villagers.

She was found in critical condition with her one-month baby under a jackfruit tree on a plantation owned by a villager.

"The orangutans came to a villager's plantation and they were considered as threats by the owner who then attempted to expel the animals," said Sapto Aji Prabowo, chief of Aceh Conservation Agency.

Officials immediately rescued the animals but the baby died from malnutrition.

Almost a week later, officials say the ape, who's been given the name Hope, is slowly recovering.

"Hope is getting better, she's starting to... eat," Sapto Aji Prabowo told AFP.

Orangutans are critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with only about 100,000 worldwide.

Plantation workers and villagers are sometimes known to attack what they consider a pest, while poachers capture the animals to sell as pets.

"We will investigate whether this was just an incident or (if) a mafia has been involved," said Jefrizal, the law enforcement head of Aceh Conservation Agency, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

A string of fatal attacks on the apes have been blamed on farmers and hunters.

Last year, four Indonesian men were arrested over the killing of an orangutan shot some 130 times with an air rifle.