A rescued baby orangutan in Borneo underwent surgery to have a bullet removed from his body after vets say he probably saw his mother shot dead in front of him. Didik, the baby orangutan, has been cared for by the International Animal Rescue (IAR) since June.
Didik was found in what vets described as an "alarming" condition – he was thought to be around 18 months old and was suffering from severe malnutrition. After weeks of care, the vets decided that he had recovered enough to undergo surgery to remove the bullet lodged in his shoulder.
"The surgery went without a hitch," said vet, Ayu Budi Handayani, "fortunately the bullet was lodged close to the surface of the skin so it was a straightforward procedure to remove it. No one could call Didik lucky after all he's been through but certainly he was fortunate to suffer only a fairly superficial wound after most likely being shot by the same gun that killed his mother."
IAR Indonesia program director, Karmele Llano Sanchez, said that Didik "looked so sad and depressed": "For an animal like an orangutan, witnessing the death of its mother is a profoundly shocking experience."
Didik has started to learn to climb again and is hoped to get even better as he is rehabilitated. IAR chief executive, Alan Knight said: "Sadly it is not uncommon for our team to treat orangutans that have been shot. The adults have usually survived an attempt to shoot them dead, while babies like Didik have been wounded by bullets intended to kill their mothers. These injuries at human hands cause the animals to suffer until the day they are rescued and veterinary teams like ours step in to repair the damage."
The Bornean Orangutan is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN red list with some reports saying that orangutans could die out completely in the next 10 years.