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Endangered Orangutans Face Death as Indonesia Burns

posted: 11/10/15
by: Danny Clemens
Anti the orangutan
International Animal Rescue via Facebook

Rampant wildfires in Indonesia are destroying many of the world's few remaining natural habitats for endangered orangutans. Over the past several months, man-made fires have destroyed an area the size of New Jersey, leaving in their wake a plume of toxic smoke that stretches across sotheastern Asia.

For Bornean orangutan Anti and her young child, Gito, however, escaping the smoldering forest was only half of the battle.

As their home in a rubber tree plantation burned to the ground around them, Anti and Gito managed to escape the embers and seek refuge in a nearby village. Frightened by the presence of the two traumatized creatures, a crowd of local villagers threw stones at the orangutans and attempted to tie Anti up with rope.

In the midst of the chaos, a concerned villager tipped off conservation organization International Animal Rescue, which quickly sent representatives onto the scene to rescue the two primates.

Related: Indonesia is Burning -- How Did We Get Here?

After escaping the fire and suffering further at the hands of mankind, Anti was malnourished and extremely thin; she also sustained minor skin wounds from the rope tied around her wrist. The rescue team anesthetized both of the animals so that they could be safely transported to a protected area of forest for monitoring:

IAR notes in a Facebook post that both mother and child are "recovering well from their terrible ordeal."

Over the last three months, the organization has rescued more than a dozen orangutans, several of whom were found to have burns on their feet.

"This is a global environmental crisis and it is already considered by experts as the worst man-made ecological disaster of the century which will affect the lives of people the world over," Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director for IAR Indonesia, explains in a statement.

"I fear that in terms of the orangutans, the worst is yet to come. And if serious action isn't taken soon to stop the fires, it will simply be too late."

We need to take a stand for our planet before it's too late.
Click here to find out how you can #StartWith1Thing and make a difference.

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On Wednesday, December 2nd, Discovery will present a global broadcast of Racing Extinction, a powerful eco-thriller that exposes issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Visit RacingExtinction.com for more information.

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