6 February 2018 - Santa Monica, CA - Orang Utan Republik Foundation.  A juvenile male orangutan from Kutai National Park in East Borneo, has died of numerous gunshot wounds after presumably feeding in a nearby palm oil plantation. The Office of Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA) initially asked staff from the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) to rescue the injured 5-7 year old primate removed from a pond located in the Park.

While still barely alive, the rescuers from COP rendered immediate treatment; but despite their best efforts, the orangutan, named "Kaluhara 2" died in the early morning of 6 February 2018. The team from COP took the orangutan to the PKT hospital in Bontang, East Kalimantan to reveal the cause of death.

 bullets1Because COP has investigated this type of incident before, they notified the Bontang Police prior to conducting the autopsy. According to COP founder, Hardi Baktiantoro, the body was riddled with bullets and stab wounds.

"We found 130 bullets - 74 in the head, 17 in the chest, and 39 in the legs and arms," said Hardi, " But we could only remove 48 bullets during the 4-hour autopsy."  In addition, the orangutan was blinded by bullets, his canine teeth were broken, and 19 stab wounds were located on the body. Oil palm fruit was also found in the stomach of the juvenile orangutan,

COP coordinates with the police as the killing of orangutans is a crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of Rp 100 million (US$7,142) according to Law No 5/1990 on conservation. Rarely do such killings lead to prosecution of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. COP encourages law enforcement to uphold the laws protecting endangered species such as the orangutan.

Kaluhara 2's death was not the first time COP has encountered such brutal treatment of orangutans. In May 2017, orangutans from the same area were shot to death on two separate occasions.

COP is the only orangutan rescue team in the region. The team at COP routinely confiscates captive infant and juvenile orangutans kept as pets then rehabilitates them for eventual release to the wild. Inevitably, the mothers of these young orangutans are killed to obtain the offspring which are sold locally or internationally. Such poaching of orangutans is usually incidental to the brutal killing of adult orangutans as pests when they enter orchards and plantations, especially palm oil plantations. Orangutans have been hacked to death, drowned, burned or buried alive, as well as being shot, frequently in front of their offspring.

bullet2While many conservation organizations point to the reduction of habitat as the biggest threat to the orangutan, direct killing of orangutans can have a profound negative impact on the local population. Because of their long inter-birth interval of 8-9 years, the killing of even a single adult female can drive a small population of orangutans to a localized extinction. All three orangutan species are considered "critically endangered" according to the IUCN's Red Book.

According to orangutan researcher Erik Meijard, killing of orangutans has been underestimated by conservationists and wildlife managers. His assessment suggests that 100,000 orangutans have been killed over the past 15 years. Since 75% of wild orangutans range outside of national parks and other protected areas, they will continue to encounter humans and resort to feeding within farms, orchards and plantations. And as the case of Kaluhara 2, the consequences of those encounters will not be benign unless wildlife management, law enforcement, and education can work together to effectively stop the killing.

For more information about the Centre for Orangutan Protection, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.orangutanprotection.com