As an excavator crashed down on a pile of cut trees, a desperate orangutan leaped down a large trunk, trying to stop the machine with his hands.
He tried clinging onto the cold metal but slipped and fell into the stack of trees which used to be his home once. The rain poured down as, shaking, he struggled to climb back up again
The whole forest around him had been destroyed.
The heartbreaking scene was captured on camera in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, as a construction crew demolished a section of the Sungai Putri Forest, a habitat of critically endangered Bornean orangutans.
Fortunately, International Animal Rescue (IAR) was nearby and managed to save the orangutan and relocate him to a remote, protected area of forest. However, his desperate plight shows how far these animals have been pressured at the hands of humans.
The orangutan falling off the tree trunk | IAR
Sungai Putri Forest is among the very few homes left for wild Bornean orangutans — but it is under serious threat from the expansion of palm oil plantations and other development projects.
A recent investigation by Greenpeace Indonesia revealed at least six illegal logging settlements existing in or close to this specific forest. The logging is considered to mostly take place at night, even in areas where mother orangutans have built nests to raise their babies.
Since the 1970s, Bornean orangutans have lost over half of their natural habitats because of logging operations. Along with the apes’ homes being destroyed, many are at risk of being shot if they try to come back to the land after a palm plantation has been established.
Members of IAR’s Indonesia rescue team bringing a different orangutan to safety | IAR
“Sungai Putri is home to one of the largest populations in the world, and we are at a critical point for the Bornean orangutan,” Karmele Llano Sanchez, program director of IAR in Indonesia, stated. “Without forests like this, they can’t survive.”
IAR is actively working on the ground on-site in Indonesia on land conservation efforts to safeguard the orangutans’ homes. However, as forests are continuously leveled by development, they need all the help they can to protect these precious apes.
A gaunt mother orangutan and her baby being rescued back in 2015 after farmers reportedly set the forest ablaze to clear land | IAR
An orangutan stranded at the top of a tree in 2016 after her entire forest had been cleared by developers | IAR
To help save Bornean orangutans, you can donate to International Animal Rescue. You can also spread the word regarding how palm oil destroys their ecosystems and try your best to not buy products that contain palm oil.