Viral Orangutan Photo Serves As Poignant Reminder Of Apes' Continued Plight

A malnourished female orangutan is pictured draped on a rescuer’s back, the two of them drenched by the falling rain. The animal’s eyes are shielded from the downpour by an outstretched hand, that of another rescue worker helping to get her to safety. It’s an evocative image, one that tells the story of a dying species and the challenges facing the humans trying to save it. Shared widely this month on social media, the photo was first captured in April 2013 during a rescue mission in Indonesian Borneo. An emergency response team from International Animal Rescue and members from a local forestry department had rushed to save four starving Bornean orangutans from a decimated forest near a palm oil plantation. The animals, all of them female, had been “reduced to eating bark and stems” because of the lack of fruit and leaves in the area, IAR said at the time. A mother and baby, both of them described as “very thin,” were among the apes rescued that day. Though not new, conservationists said this week that the image may perhaps be even more meaningful today than when it was first captured. For both species of orangutan, the situation “can only be said to have gone from bad to worse since the photo was taken three years ago,” Lis Key, an IAR spokesperson, told The Huffington Post. This July, the Bornean orangutan was declared “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. I...
Source: Science - The Huffington Post - Category: Science Source Type: news

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