By Ellie Duncombe
An adorable baby orangutan that was tied to a tree by its neck and kept as a pet was rescued.
Rescuers from International Animal Rescue (IAR) were alerted to the concerning case of female orangutan called Kenaya being kept in the Indonesian region of Sungai District.
Reaching the remote village they found the one-year-old tethered to a nearby tree by rope wrapped around her throat near the home of a man called Yance.
The rescue team took Kenaya back to IAR’s orangutan rehabilitation centre in Ketapang where she was diagnosed with a skin disease and was also suspected of suffering from a respiratory infection.
Alan Knight OBE, IAR Chief Executive, said: “There is a terrible sadness and despair in the eyes of this poor baby.
“Now that she is safely in our care, I feel sure that in time she will recover from the trauma she has been through.
“But how much better her life would have been had she been left in peace in the forest, learning from her mother all the skills she needs to survive.
“The number of orangutans our team is rescuing has certainly dropped, but the death of one mother and the capture of her baby still has a serious impact on a population teetering on the brink of extinction.
“Thankfully, over the years ahead, we can repair the damage to Kenaya, but it’s tragically too late for her mother.”
Yance admitted that he had found her while cutting down trees and claimed the mother was found dead and, out of pity, he took the baby to his house and cared for her.
He kept her for four months, tethered by the neck to a tree near the pigsty by his house.
He led her from place to place on the end of a rope and fed the little orphan on rice and other human food.
Even though it is illegal to keep an orangutan as a pet, cases are still common in Ketapang District, particularly in remote areas far from the city centre.
In cases where a baby orangutan is being kept, it is almost certain that the mother orangutan has been killed in order to take her child.
Karmele L Sanchez, IAR Indonesia Programme Director, said: “We can see a very positive change in the Ketapang community.
“The number of orangutans being kept is getting smaller and the people in Ketapang are increasingly understanding the importance of orangutan protection.
“We value highly the role of the community in reporting the existence of orangutans that have been illegally trafficked and kept as pets.”
She will spend eight weeks in quarantine and during this time she will undergo further thorough examinations by IAR’s medical team.
These are carried out to ensure Kenaya isn’t carrying any dangerous diseases that can be transmitted to other orangutans at the centre.